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Welcome!

Welcome to the website of “The Friends of Bimson Park.”  We’re here to advance an idea to preserve and enhance the grounds surrounding the landmark Arcadia branch bank of Valley National Bank (now Chase Bank) for the benefit and enjoyment of neighborhood residents and all of Phoenix.  Please feel free to meander through this website, learn more about the project, and consider adding your support.

What we hope to achieve.  The goals of “The Friends of Bimson Park” are as follows:

bimson-portrait

  1. To ensure the preservation of the Arcadia branch bank, built originally in 1967 as the 101st branch of the Valley National Bank, now the Arcadia branch of Chase Bank.
  2. To preserve and improve the “pocket park” that was part of the original design concept for the bank site as a memorial to business, financial, and civic leader, and leading patron of Arizona art and architecture, Walter Reed Bimson (1892-1980).  Bimson was Valley National Bank’s president from 1932 to 1953 and Chairman from 1953 to 1970.
  3. To bring to life the design idea of the park as a sculpture garden featuring the work of John Henry Waddell in a setting that reinforces the site design by architect Frank Henry.  Mr. Henry designed the branch bank while employed by Weaver and Drover, the architectural firm commissioned by Mr. Bimson to design numerous branches for Valley National Bank.
  4. To recognize the historic and architectural significance of the building and site as exemplary of the mid-twentieth century period, a pivotal time in the growth and development of Phoenix and Arizona; to seek designation as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project.

vnb-postcardWhere we are today.  Given the global economic climate and the major part that JPMorgan Chase is playing in attempts to stabilize our national financial systems, officials at Chase Bank are focused on matters other than the one branch bank at 44th Street and Camelback Road.  The State of Arizona and City of Phoenix’s own budget difficulties have also thrown a temporary roadblock to progress on efforts to ensure the preservation of the branch bank and the creation of the park.

park-drawing“The Friends of Bimson Park” continue to gather support for the idea so that as soon as fiscal pressures ease up, as they will, the project will be poised to move quickly.  Mr. Henry has completed the schematic design for the park that includes a sculpture garden featuring works by Mr. Waddell.

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