The National Exchange Bank of Chester was established in 1906, and this Greek Revival building with the imposing Doric columns was built in 1919. The former bank is one of several commercial buildings standing on The Hill, the city’s public square and original business district. Its opulent marble facade reflected the success of the bank in its first several years of operation. However, the National Exchange Bank of Chester closed in 1933 when one of its directors was caught in an embezzlement scandal.
Following the closing of the bank, the building was purchased in 1942 by the Masonic Temple, which maintains ownership to this day. The stately structure was featured in the 1983 television miniseries “Chiefs.” More recently, the building was explored in an episode of “Rebel Gold,” a reality show about the search for Confederate treasure, in 2015. The iconic building was put on the market by the Masonic Temple at the beginning of 2016.
The Chester Masonic Temple is listed in the National Register as the National Exchange Building within the Chester Historic District:
The focal point of the Chester Historic District is The Hill, a triangular-shaped plaza on an eminence at the center of the city, around which the original settlement grew, and which now includes the city hall and a relatively well-preserved collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial buildings. The district now also includes the remainder of the central business area, containing the county courthouse and the federal building, as well as most of the older residential areas of the city and the early churches that are within them. Of the 475 properties in the district, 324 are considered to contribute to its historical character. The city of Chester was formed in the late eighteenth century as Chesterville. However, most of the properties included in the district reflect the city’s history through the second half of the nineteenth and in the early twentieth centuries. As a result, the buildings display a wide variety of architectural styles reflective of stylistic trends during that time span, including Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Victorian, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne, Classical Revival, and Bungalow. In addition, the district reflects the city’s role as a commercial center for the surrounding county, and as its political and governmental hub.