Anna Merriman reports that the First Bank of the United States in Old City, Philadelphia will soon be refurbished as likely reopened in the next few years. Here’s the First Bank from Google Streetview:
The bank, built by the federal government in the late 18th century, received an $8 million state grant last week, which will allow workers to refurbish the structure …
The First Bank money will go first toward bringing the South 3rd Street building’s heating and air conditioning up to date, as well as restrooms and masonry repairs, according to Philly.com.
It’s a big step for the building, which has been closed to the public for years. It was constructed following the Revolutionary War, when Alexander Hamilton proposed the idea of a national bank, allowing the government more financial control in the wake of war-related debt.
The First Bank remained until the early 1800s, when it was turned into Girard Bank, according to the National Parks Service. The interior was renovated a century later and, finally, in 1955, the building was purchased by the National Parks Service.
The Second Bank of the United States is right around the corner, now in the same Independence National Historical Park.
When I lived in Old City a few years ago I would often walk the block or so from our second floor Market Street apartment over to the First Bank and sit on its steps or (in warmer weather) splay out on the grass surrounding it to do work or take phone calls. I was sitting on those steps when we decided to commit to raising $50,000 to endow the Michael D. Walsh Student Broadcasters Trustee Scholarship at Penn State, for instance. That’s one of the things that springs to mind when I see that old facade.
I’m looking forward to seeing inside at some point.