WNB Financial African Safari Exhibit – Winona, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

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WNB Financial African Safari Exhibit

Winona, Minnesota

Hunting trophies and antique guns make up the unusual display at this Minnesota bank building. 

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WNB Financial’s historic downtown Egyptian Revival building in Winona, Minnesota, was designed by Chicago architect George Washington Maher. The building features incredible Italian marble, Tiffany stained glass windows, and a third floor that is sure to surprise, as it’s filled with taxidermy and hunting trophies.

WNB, originally named Winona Savings Bank, was established in 1874. In 1900,  J.R. Watkins, founder of the health and home goods company Watkins Incorporated, took a controlling interest in the bank. After his death, E.L. King became the bank’s president and Paul Watkins its vice-president. They hired Maher to build a grand new home for the bank, which was completed in 1916.

King’s and his wife, Grace Watkins King (daughter of J.R. Watkins), were hobbyist game hunters. They decorated the building’s third floor with pieces from their extensive collections of exotic animal trophies and hunting rifles. There are more than 20 pieces of taxidermy on display, including a lion, a leopard, an ostrich, and a number of antelope heads. The animals have stood in the bank since their arrival in 1924, and according to a local news outlet, recently started undergoing restoration.

Know Before You Go

Open to the public; guided and self-guided tours available. Open during regular business hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm

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