OK, take a look at the photo above and see if you recognize the building in it. It’s a model railroad classic and has been around for a long time. Does this image help any?
Give up? It is the top half of an older Atlas Signal Tower. As I mentioned, this particular kit has been around for years. More recently, you can purchase it as an assembled model but not much has changed otherwise. I think Atlas may have changed the colors a couple of times through the years just for a bit of variety.
But it is the use of the old building that caught my eye. I don’t know if the modeler deliberately discarded the rest of the kit when he started to build this scene or whether he just salvaged the top part from a previously built model. Either way, it goes to show what a little creativity can do for you in how you “see” buildings and their purpose. I have stored away in my “stack of stuff” another Atlas Signal Tower that will be the second half of a combination station/tower model some day in the future. That article was published in MODEL RAILROADER several years ago. I believe I have also seen the same kit parts used as the front section of a building that served as a roadside diner.
Some kit manufacturers do a little “repurposing” themselves. Several years ago, AHM produced a classic three-story building that was converted into at least six different structures, all using the same basic building but with a different set of detailing parts. They did the same thing with an older, two-story building a few years earlier. With a new spire and some different windows plus a couple of cannons out front, their Country Church became a Country Court House.
I guess the moral of this story is just because the building says it’s a bank doesn’t mean that it couldn’t become a station or some other similar structure with a little part-swapping and creativity. The next time you need a particular structure, take a look beyond the label on the box and see if there is indeed another building lurking inside.