The “Teller” pays homage to the number of banks that operated along Bristol’s aptly named “Bank Street.”
Utilizing an actual photo of the front of Merchants Exchange Bank, which stood at 524 Bank Street in 1893 for the artwork, the mural depicts a teller exchanging money with what was sure to be a longtime Bristolian. He is dressed in the fashion of the times, sporting suspenders, a white shirt, and a bow tie.
If you take a closer look at the mural, you’ll notice a high step. In an effort to replicate the actual façade of the building, the same step-up has been included. It is thought that early architects of the buildings in Bristol, which is in a flood zone, added the step, in anticipation of floodwaters.
In those early days of Bristol’s existence, tellers wore visors and stood behind steel bars (a safety measure, no doubt) while making transactions. Behind the teller stands a safe, where much of the bank’s money was locked away safely. In Bristol, like most cities in those days, banks were the heart and soul of the community.