Built in 1857 and known as the Southern Bank of Kentucky Building, this historic structure was converted to residential use in the early 1980s. It features hardwood floors, 12 fireplaces, two mahogany staircases, and 15-foot ceilings restored to their 19th-century grandeur.
The 7,321-square-foot building on three quarters of an acre is zoned for residential or commercial use. It sits in a historic district in Russellville, KY, only 45 minutes from country music capital Nashville.
Priced at $825,000, it includes six bedrooms as well as a renovated kitchen with exposed brick wall. Covered porches recall a simpler time when sitting on a porch to chat with neighbors was a way of life.
However, our curiosity was piqued by what remains under lock and key. Inside, the bank’s two vaults remain and are still operable should you have some priceless treasures to keep safe.
The main vault, which has three chambers and four doors, sheltered $2 million in gold at the time of the James Gang robbery—gold the gang was unable to pilfer.
However, the bank wasn’t left unscathed on March 28, 1868, when the James Gang (Jesse James himself was elsewhere recovering from a gunshot wound) rode up. Two bullet holes remain from that day when bank president Nimrod Long refused to cash a questionable bond the gang brought in and was shot, according to listing agent Becky Reinhold.
The gang, which that day likely included James’ brother, Frank, made off with more than $9,000, a true haul for its time. The robbery was only the third daylight bank heist in U.S. history and the first for the gang, which became known as the James-Younger Gang after the robbery because of the presence of the infamous Younger brothers.
The cash the gang did make off with was housed in the building’s second vault—located in what was then the president’s office. It was known as the day vault because it remained open during the day while the bank did business.
The gang wasn’t the first to try to steal the gold in the bank’s main vault. The Confederate government of Kentucky (which desired to secede) wanted the bank to loan it the gold during the Civil War. The bank’s board refused and subsequently hid the gold in an upstairs residence then used by the bank president.
Whether you choose to keep the vaults as curios or use them to hide valuables is up to you. Just don’t lock yourself in.
Posted by John N. Frank in realtor.com