The building was constructed from 1919 and 1921 by W.H. Knight. Upon completion of the bank in 1921, Mr. Knight sold the building to R.J. Hooton. Two years later R.J transferred ownership to Paul Hooton and the Hooton family of lawyers owned the building until 1993. Though etched in stone above the entryway, the building never housed the First National Bank. Merchants and Farmers Bank, City Bank and Trust, and Sheppards Jewelry were all occupants of the first floor.
In 2010, Jim and Kesa Dunn purchased the building and though some repairs were necessary, the full remodel began in Spring of 2015 and Kesa’s Law Firm moved into the building February 2016. The Dunns were fortunate to work with many others who understood the significance of the renovation and worked hard to lovingly restore this important landmark. Those individuals include Guy Baker and his sons, who did the majority of the construction work, Mike Mekkelson-windows, Roy Whaley Roofing, Freddy Brown- plumbing, Jody Driver-electric, Jimmy Weeks Heating and Cooling, Patty Yearta-painting, Dewayne Garrett-courtyard brick.
Norton’s Flooring painstakingly restored the marble in the foyer. Many of the detailed projects in the building including the chevron patterned floor in Kesa’s office, the conference table on 1st floor, and the kitchen island in the loft were lovingly designed by Chris Mitchum. The large desk in Kesa’s office was handcrafted by Tommy Hendon. The larger art pieces in the building are from artist Catie Radney and in the 2nd floor conference room a piece by Melinda Rombokas Melvin.
Leslie Hooton Gathings graciously gave many family artifacts including law books, documents and photos belonging to Robert and Paul Hooton as well as the original window advertising their law offices which is displayed in the 2nd floor conference room. Other photos throughout the building and local memorabilia on display were gifts from Wyner Phillips and other local historians. Countless other friends and family offered their time, labor and support throughout the process. It is and Kesa’s hope that friends, clients and the community can enjoy the building for generations to come.