Live Local: Early Bank and Post Office in Long Beach
For this week’s edition of Live Local, News 25’s Lorraine Weiskopf takes us to one of the oldest buildings in Long Beach that’s known for its rich history and roast.
The Early Bank and Post Office, built in 1924 by the Hancock County Bank as its second branch, the building has gone from a bank to a library to even a dwelling for the masons then it was a post office until 1960 and now it serves Long Beach residents differently. No postage, just cups of coffee.
Coast Roast Coffee Company Owner Shawn Montella purchased the property, utilizing it as a hair studio for his wife and for the Bankhouse Coffee Shop. Then came Katrina and it left behind a bare building. “We were approached by the Department of Archives and History to look into the building and see how we could bring it back to kind of its former glory. That’s when we really got serious about it. Previous to that, we thought we had just bought an old building.”
Two years later — and after the original architecture plans were discovered — exact replicas of the grand doors and copper awning were made and the building was acknowledged by the National Registry of Historic Places.
“We still have a long way to go. It’s an ever-evolving process with old buildings. You just have to really like them or you get tired and don’t want to deal with it. People love the old building and they have the chance to walk in it now and walk around and it created enough interest to where Bankhouse Coffee became this local thing.”
From money to books to secrecy to coffee, that’s the history behind the Early Bank and Post Office.