The Suffolk Savings Bank for Seamen and Others was incorporated in 1833 as a banking institution catered to seamen and merchants who received their earnings after a trip in cash, and wanted a secure place to store their funds. At the time, these men were among the richest in the city, and the bank did very well. It later became a national bank in 1865 and membership boomed. The bank grew and grew until the early 20th century, and it needed a new banking house that showcased their stability, but also provide a visual embodiment of the security their institution provides. The bank’s board hired world-renowned architect Cass Gilbert to design a new building, which would be located on one of the busiest corners in Downtown Boston at the corner of Tremont Street and Pemberton Square. The Classical Revival building was constructed of Hallowell Granite and featured four monumental columns recessed into the Tremont Street facade. Minimal windows allowed for security, while a domed skylight covered in a cap provided light into the rounded banking room below. Inside, the walls and floors were of marble with a tile coffered ceiling. The building lasted until 1965 when Urban Renewal brought the wrecking ball. The bank was demolished by 1967 for the present Center Plaza building in Government Center.
Located next door to the First Congregational Church of Everett, you can find one of the finest eclectic commercial buildings in the region, and it is one that is often overlooked. The Everett Savings Bank was built in 1930 from plans by architect Thomas Marriott James for the Everett Savings Bank, which was established in 1889. This building was constructed just at the beginning of the Great Depression, at a time when banks and American citizens were penny pinching. The budget was likely set before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as the relatively high-style bank building would have been a big expense at the time. The bank blends Art Deco and Spanish Renaissance Revival styles elegantly. The structure is constructed with sandstone walls that are decorated with figured panels and semi-circular multi-pane windows are outlined by rope molding. Crowning the building is a bold arcaded frieze with Moorish inspired cornice. Swoon!
One of the few brick buildings in Newfane’s Village Center is this charming old bank, right on Main Street. The building was constructed in 1884 as the Vermont National Bank and is a vernacular example of the Romanesque Revival architectural style with the arched openings and brickwork. Vermont architect George A. Hines designed the modest building, which was built for $6,650. The bricks for the building were brought into town by ox cart. Those for the front facade cost 5 cents apiece; those for the sidewalls 3 cents; and those for the back wall 2 cents, showing how the best materials go on the highly visible facades.
The Burlington Savings Bank building, constructed in 1900, is one of the most architecturally sophisticated buildings in Downtown Burlington, Vermont. The design uses a brick and brownstone facade with prominent wall dormers and a corner tower with conical roof which harkens back to the chateaus and estates of Europe. The recessed corner entrance is framed by free-standing Ionic columns which support a brownstone segmental arch, which helps command the corner presence. The Burlington Savings Bank opened for business on January 1, 1848, and operated under that title until 1988 when it merged with the Bank of Boston to become the Bank of Vermont, which in 1995, was purchased by KeyBank. The corner building is now occupied by Citizens Bank, which continues this buildings legacy as a castle of finance in the city.
Located at the corner of Summer and Devonshire Streets in Downtown Boston, the Commonwealth Trust Company’s two-story marble banking house commanded the corner, despite its short stature. The building, completed in 1908, was constructed with Lee marble and decorated with ornate wrought and cast-iron grilles over windows. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Parker, Thomas & Rice in the Classical mode with large, fluted Corinthian columns and boxed corner pilasters framing the recessed center entrance, Corinthian pilasters ran along the side facade. At the inside, the building was coated with Cararra and Blanco marble with paneled oak offices. At the ground floor, offices and banking stations framed the outer walls, with the safety deposit boxes located on the second floor. The building was demolished by the 1970s and replaced with a one-story minimalist Modern building (I could not figure out why the former building was razed). The new building was demolished after a few decades with a larger building, better fitting the commercial district.
The Southport Savings Bank obtained a charter from the Connecticut General Assembly in May 1854, and was organized on September 25 of that year. Original incorporators included Paschal Sheffield, Austin Perry, Wakeman B. Meeker, Charles Perry, Prancis D. Perry, E.D. Sherwood, John Meeker, Frederick Marquand, and Andrew Bulkley. A new building, located at the foot of Main Street, was constructed to be accessible to shipowners, shop keepers, the farmer patronage, and commercial traders. This bank building was occupied in 1865, eventually merging with Bridgeport People’s Savings Bank on July 1, 1955, becoming the Southport Branch of the People’s Savings Bank – Bridgeport. It ceased to be a bank in the 2010s and is now occupied by the Southport School.