Opening

An article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in mid-January mentioned that the building, with its “seven stories pointing heavenward,” would be ready for occupancy that month.25

It is unclear exactly when in the spring of 1906 the Krise Building officially opened for business, but it was likely delayed, as the American National Life Insurance Company (which was affiliated with American National Bank) pushed its organizational meeting at the Krise Building to early March.26 A later newspaper article explained that American National Bank had intended to open on November 1, 1905, but due to the “great scarcity the kriseof high grade materials such as was required in the finishing of the main banking room,” it “resulted in a postponement of the opening date from time to time.” Lynchburg real estate tax records for 1906 clearly indicated the improvements, as the building on the lot was assessed at $105,000, a substantial increase over the previous year’s valuation of $24,500 (a mid-1905 reassessment reflected the completion of Phase I, which was valued at $50,000).27 On the evening of Saturday, March 31, 1906, American National Bank hosted a public reception to celebrate its grand opening in its new location on the first floor of the Krise Building. Hundreds of people were in attendance, and entertainment was provided by the Academy of Music Orchestra. Following the reception, a private dinner was held at the Hotel Carroll for the board of directors, officers, and employees of the bank. The décor of the main banking room was described as being executed in green, ivory, and gold, and the walls were wainscoted in highly-polished Italian marble “of the English vein variety.”28

As if there was a lack of fanfare over the building, poet Duvall Porter submitted an ode to the Krise Building to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which was published in late April 1906. Porter wrote that the building was:

"…A thing of beauty, strength and grace, An honor and an ornament To Krise, and to his native place, Whose very worth and sentiment Outweighs the money on it spent. His monument in coming years, A city’s pride his epitaph, When he who built it disappears this structure speaks in his behalf, and, like Augustus, he may say, ‘Lynchburg is marble and not clay'"

The 1907 Sanborn Insurance Company map of Lynchburg confirms that the Krise Building was built according to the early 20th century principles of “fire proof construction.” The building’s addresses of 827-829 Main Street were occupied by the bank, and 205, 207 and 209 Ninth Street were designated as storefronts. The address at 203 Ninth Street served as the main entrance lobby for the offices in the six stories above. The 1907 City Directory included an advertisement for American National Bank that boasted that it was “fire-proof and burglar-proof throughout.” The Claiborne Drug Company was located at 205 Ninth Street, while the other two storefronts along Ninth contained offices, including those of P.A. Krise and the Bonsack Machine Company.

The upper floors of the building were teeming with commercial and government tenants. As previously announced, the second floor served as what could be described as “city hall,” with facilities for the Common Council, City Engineer, Water Works, Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer, and Collector. Tenants on upper floors included a U.S. Army Recruiting Office, builders C.W. Hancock & Son, the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry, the Durham & South Carolina Railroad Company, and several law firms and insurance agencies. Two offices on the seventh floor were occupied by the Coffee Room of the Van Dyke League, a civic organization.30