Charlotte residents may not know it, but when in 1998 their hometown Nations Bank bought and moved California-based Bank of America (originally the Bank of Italy, which helped build the state), it also took, if not actual possession, then the spirit of a sculpture at the base of the acquired bank’s headquarters.
Nicknamed “Banker’s Heart” by popular San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, that sculpture is 200 tons of black polished granite located in a big wind-swept plaza that was on the 100% corner of West Coast finance. Originally set directly in the pavers, it looked as though it had been hurled down from the top of the building 52 stories above.
It’s the day-to-day operations and mindset of a dominant industry that defines an area and how it grows. Think steel-making in Pittsburgh, auto-making in Detroit, and movie-making in Los Angeles. A bank tower shows off wealth, power, and influence. You can talk roads, parking, and crosswalks, but it’s the identity of a place that matters.