Security First National Bank

Security First National Bank (now Union Bank) 500 South Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264

The Security First National Bank, designed by architect Joseph Bing Wong, was completed in 1958. A sublime single-story modernist structure, the commercial building is an important component of the city’s financial district. One of the building’s most notable features is its bas-relief sculpture by artist Lawrence Tenney Stevens which chronicles the history of Palm Springs.

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On January 3, 2023, the city’s Historic Site Preservation Board met to discuss the Security First National Bank Class 1 Historic Resource nomination. A June 3, 2022 historic resources report, prepared for the city by North Wind Resource Consulting, validated the conclusions of the PSPF nomination. Despite opposition from the owner, the HSPB recognized the importance of the building to the community and voted unanimously to recommend to the city council that the building be designated a Class 1 Historic Resource.

On September 14, 2021, the Historic Site Preservation Board was advised by city staff that a “professional services contract” for a “peer review report” had been initiated for the Security First National Bank nomination.

On July 7, 2021, the HSPB voted unanimously (7-0) to have city staff initiate the “processing” of the Security First National Bank “application” (i.e., nomination) to include the scheduling of site visits.

On June 15, 2021, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation submitted the 91-page Class 1 Historic Resource nomination for the Security First National Bank to the city of Palm Springs.

On June 1, 2021, the city’s Historic Site Preservation board met to discuss the PSPF request and unanimously voted to amend their work plan making the Security First National Bank designation a city priority.

On May 20, 2021, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation sent a letter to the Chairman of the city of Palm Springs’ Historic Site Preservation Board stating, in part, that “the Security First National Bank…has long been identified as a potential historic site. and is deserving of inclusion in the Historic Site Preservation Board’s current work plan.” The PSPF request was an administrative formality as the bank building had only recently been removed from the HSPB work plan when an HSPB member reported that PSPF might pursue the nomination.

In July of 2020, the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board of directors assigned the task of writing the Class 1 Historic Resource nomination for the Security First National Bank to PSPF board advisor Susan Secoy Jensen.

An early mention of the Security First National Bank (now “Union Bank”) in city records appears in a city of Palm Springs Planning and Building Department document entitled “Potential Sites for Designation” dated August 22, 2000.

Courtesy Palm Springs Historical Society
Courtesy Palm Springs Historical Society
Courtesy John Lewis Marshall
Courtesy John Lewis Marshall