History


Bank interior circa 1920

Bank interior circa 1920

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ladora Savings Bank is one of only a handful of “Jewel Box” style banks still in existence.

The classical revival architecture of the building was designed by William Lightner and Charles B. Zalesky. With two substantial Doric columns, several tall windows on the sides, mosaic tiled floor, marble walls, restored bank vaults, and much of the original structure still intact, the building is quite a site.

 The bank opened its doors in May of 1920. Considered one of the finest structures in its day, the dedication ceremony brought in over one thousand visitors from all parts of Iowa County. The post-World War l farm economy in the region began with an initial boom in land and crop values, but later declined around the same time the bank opened its doors. For eleven years, the bank struggled and finally met its demise in 1931, closing its doors like so many Depression era banks in its day. The building never reopened as a financial institution.

Over the years, the building served as a meeting place for local civic organizations, a “flop house” for truckers, a polling station, civil defense shelter, a Red Cross office during World War II, an antique store, attorney's office and drapery business. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 3, 1990.

In 2004, Dimitri Makedonsky noticed the old bank while traveling through Ladora on a motorcycle ride. He immediately parked his bike, and began peering through the broken windows. After several weeks of inquiry and negotiation, Dimitri purchased the building and adjacent property and began a four year renovation from roof to basement.

Initially purchasing the building with the intention of making it his home/glass studio, other options arose, and the wine bar/bistro concept took shape. After several years of hard work, a lot of faith and a great deal of luck, the Ladora Bank Bistro was born.

Chef Jim Vido joined the bistro in January of 2014, bringing years of experience in the restaurant and catering industry. Jim and his wife, Holly, took over the business in May and are proud to offer fine wines, craft beers, and an eclectic “share plate” menu to customers from all over the world! 

Another treasure on Iowa’s Highway 6
— Documentary film makers Kelly &Tammy Rundle
A front page story in The Ladora News from July 26, 1920 announces the opening of the Ladora Savings Bank.

A front page story in The Ladora News from July 26, 1920 announces the opening of the Ladora Savings Bank.