Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Downtown Augusta Cotton Exchange Branch a Labor of Love

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Downtown Augusta Cotton Exchange Branch a Labor of Love

Article excerpt

Have you ever answered "fair to middling" when someone asked how you were? You may not have realized it, says Dan Blanton, but you were talking cotton talk.

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You can find more cotton terminology and history in the Cotton Exchange branch of Georgia Bank & Trust Co. in downtown Augusta. The branch, which features the beautiful antique teller cages seen on the opening pages of this article, is located in the city's old Cotton Exchange Building. Built in 1886, it is entered in the National Register of Historic Places. The bank acquired and restored it, and reopened it as a branch in September 2004.

In its heyday, the exchange was the center for the area's cotton business. Augusta was once a major inland nexus for the cotton trade, second only among the inland ports to Memphis.

You can get a sense of the old days in the branch's lobby. There, a huge chalkboard used by exchange staff has been restored, including some of the price and grade postings typical of the era. There's a lot of Dan Blanton tied up in the building. …

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