Construction

Interestingly, the building was built in two phases. The Lynchburg News article stated that C.W. Hancock & Son were presently “erecting the rear portion of the building.”

For an unknown reason, Krise opted to bid the project out in two phases, constructing the rear five bays of the building first. In other words, when viewing the building from Ninth Street, the pedimented entry into the elevator lobby (203 Ninth Street) and everything to the left (uphill) was constructed first. Then, the four bays to the right (towards Main Street) of the pedimented entry were built.

One possible reason for this construction scheme was that there were complications with demolishing 827-829 Main Street, or with movingconstruction American National Bank to temporary quarters; however, it is hard to understand why the two-phase approach was a cost-effective or beneficial
option. Charles Washington Hancock was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1853, and became a partner in the firm of Hardy & Hancock,
millwrights, in 1882. Six years later, he became a general contractor. His oldest son, A.C. Hancock, joined him in 1895, and the firm of C.W. Hancock & Son established an office in Lynchburg in 1897. Other sons joined the company in 1907 and 1912. Hancock’s first major projects included plants at Holcomb Rock, Virginia, and Kanawha Falls, West Virginia, for the Wilson Aluminum Company.17 Following construction of the Krise Building, the firm completed a new building for First National Bank at Tenth and Main Streets (the building houses BB&T Bank, but was dramatically remodeled in the 1970s).18

The architectural firm of Edward Graham Frye and Aubrey Chesterman was perhaps the most influential Lynchburg design firm of the early 20th century. During the first decade of the century, Frye and Chesterman designed several important buildings, including the Piedmont Club (1902), Academy of Music (1905), Jones Memorial Library (1907), and Lynchburg College (1909-10). In addition, it was one of three Virginia firms chosen to design the legislative wings on the Virginia Capitol in Richmond.19

The Krise Building was designed to be the tallest in Lynchburg, at seven stories. While it was Lynchburg’s first “skyscraper,” the building’s design recipe had been well-established elsewhere. The Chicago School method of designing tall buildings based on the three primary parts of a classical column had been well-established by Louis Sullivan and others. The first floor of the building served as the base of the column, and was “devoted to stores, banks, or other establishments requiring a large area, ample spacing, ample light, and great freedom of access.”

The Krise Building’s first floor contained a bank and stores, as suggested by Sullivan, and was visually separated from the rest of the tower by arches, rusticated stonework, and a belt course between the first and second levels. Above the main floor was “an indefinite number of stories of offices piled tier upon tier.” These levels served as the shaft of the classical column, topped by a “capital” story. The Krise building’s seventh floor, like its construction2first, was visually separated from the shaft of the “column” by the use of a belt course, terra-cotta cartouches between the windows, and a heavy cornice with a balustrade above.20

Phase I of the seven-story brick building was originally planned to be constructed with wooden floors, stairs, roofing, and partition systems, which was the typical, traditional construction method of the day. However, as soon as the rear portion of the building was “dried-in” (placed under a roof), Krise determined that the wooden “innards” of the building were inconsistent with its masonry exterior, and ordered that all interior framing
be removed. Steel beams, concrete “hollow tile” floors, iron stairs, and other fireproof elements were installed in its place.21

As construction progressed through 1905, P.A. Krise began to recruit tenants for the building. In October, Lynchburg’s Board of Aldermen agreed with the Common Council and voted to rent all 14 offices on the second floor of the Krise Building, which would consolidate city offices that were then “scattered over three or four squares [blocks] on Main and Church Streets.”22

Krise was likely pleased to have made a long-term lease (three years that could be extended to five) with Lynchburg’s municipal government. Through the winter of 1905-06, anticipation for the completion of the building was mounting. In January, Calvin Moss, agent for the Union Central Life Insurance Company, advertised in the Lynchburg News that they were “not quite ready yet at Krise Building, so see us at 1016 Main Street for a few days longer.” Later that month, the American National Life Insurance Company reported that it was “placing its stock” and would organize in February “as soon as it can get its suite of rooms in the new Krise building.”24