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Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building photographs and architectural drawings ARC.116

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-222-4111
library@brooklynhistory.org


Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Patricia Glowinski.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 07, 2012
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Further revisions to the finding aid were completed by Mike Satalof under the supervision of Julie I. May. 2012

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Halsey, McCormack & Helmer.
Creator: Williamsburgh Savings Bank.
Title: Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building photographs and architectural drawings
Dates [inclusive]: 1888-2001
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1927-1929
Abstract: The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building photographs and architectural drawings span the years 1888 to 2001, with bulk dates of 1927 to 1929. The collection documents the design, construction, architectural and infrastructural features, and daily work life in the now landmarked building at One Hanson Place in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, particularly between its opening and the early 1960s. The collection is arranged into three series: Photographs, Architectural drawings, and Ephemera.
Quantity: 4.56 linear feet in one manuscript box and flat file storage.
Call Phrase: ARC.116
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical Note

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank, chartered in 1851, originally opened its doors to customers from a rented basement in the Town of Williamsburgh (now the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn). The bank continued to rent office space until 1875 when the first Williamsburgh Savings Bank building opened at 175 Broadway in what was then the Eastern District of the City of Brooklyn (now, also, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn). The building, landmarked since 1966, was built following an architectural competition held by the bank to find an architect to design their headquarters. George B. Post submitted the winning design of a four-story Classical Revival style building. Post would go on to design other landmarked buildings including the Brooklyn Historical Society building.

In 1926, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank bought more property, this time in the brownstone adorned Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. On this site, the 34-story Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, located at 1 Hanson Place, was built. The skyscraper was designed by the architectural firm Halsey, McCormack, and Helmer who specialized in bank architecture. Their designs include the landmarked Emigrant Savings Bank building (originally the Dollar Savings Bank) located in the Bronx.

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, 1 Hanson Place was built between 1927 and 1929. Standing at 512 feet, it was the tallest building in Brooklyn until the completion of The Brooklyner condominiums (516 feet) in 2009. The now landmarked Williamsburgh Savings Bank building (since 1977) was also home to the largest four-faced clock in the world. It held this title until 1962. In 2009, the building was converted into condominiums. In 2010, the expansive ornate marbled lobby, originally the banking room, was opened to house the popular weekend market, Brooklyn Flea.

Sources:

  1. Allison, Eric Wm. "Williamsburgh Savings Bank." The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New-York Historical Society, 1995.
  2. Forgotten NY. Street scenes. Top of the World Ma. http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/willie/willie.html (accessed October 6, 2010).

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Scope and Contents

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building photographs and architectural drawings span the years 1888 to 2001, with bulk dates of 1927 to 1929, and measures 4.5 linear feet. The collection primarily documents to the design and construction of the now landmarked building at One Hanson Place in the neighborhood of Fort Greene, and is organized into three series: Photographs,  Architectural drawings, and  Ephemera.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Architectural drawings
  • Black-and-white prints (photographs)
  • Color prints (photographs)
  • Color slides
  • Drawings (visual works)

Subject Organizations

  • Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y. : Hanson Place).

Subject Topics

  • Art deco (Architecture)
  • Bank buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Design and construction
  • Holidays |z New York (State) |z Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Photographs open to researchers without restriction. Architectural drawings may be restricted due to physical condition. Please consult library staff for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of photographs donated by HSBC Bank in 2006 (in Folders 1-15) is held by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Copyright status of other photographs (in Folder 16) and of architectural drawings varies and must be assessed by library staff. All uses beyond fair use require a licensing agreement as per Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Please consult library staff for more information.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building photographs and architectural drawings, ARC.116, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society. Donated by HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Related Archival Materials

Brooklyn Historical Society also holds a related collection. Interested researchers should see the Williamsburgh Savings Bank records (1990.008). Please consult library staff for more information.

Other Finding Aids

Item-level description and digitized images of photographs from the collection are available for search via the image database in the library and online. There is also a detailed legacy inventory list for the architectural records located in the Othmer Library at Brooklyn Historical Society, completed in 2007. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Architectural drawings and most photographs gift of HSBC Bank USA in 2006 and 2007. The source of acquisition of photographs in folder 16 is unknown.

Processing Information

Processed to the sub-series level.

Collection was partially processed in 2006 by a student under the supervision of Marilyn Pettit, then Director of Library and Archives. Further processing to describe photographs at the item-level and to flatten architectural drawings was completed in 2012 by Mike Satalof.

This collection combines the accessions 2006.001 and 2007.019.

Photograph Records

Item-level description and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the online image database

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Container List

Series 1: Photographs, 1927-1966. 0.4 linear feet

Scope and Contents

This series consists of black-and-white and color photographic prints documenting the construction, opening, architectural features, employees, and customers of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building located at One Hanson Place in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. It includes exterior and interior construction photographs, showing the building's foundations, framework, and vault. The series also includes interior photographs of the bank lobby after completion, of holiday installations in the building, and of the vault in use. It also includes images of events held at the building such as the Williamsburgh Savings Bank annual Christmas party, and building tours.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The photographs in Folders 1 through 15 and all associated rights, including copyright, were transferred to Brooklyn Historical Society in 2008 by Heather L. Nesle, Vice President of Community and Philanthropic Services, HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

The provenance and source of acquisition of photographs in Folder 16 is unknown. The lack of documentation about them when the bulk of the collection was donated by HSBC Bank in 2006 indicates that they were not part of that accession, but were subsequently added to the collection artificially.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Exterior views - construction and early exterior views
Bulk, 1927-19291927-1950
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Exterior views - lighting
1929
Box: 1 Folder : 3-5 Construction - foundations and framework
1927-1928
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Construction - mechanical infrastructure
1929 February 5
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Construction - vault
1928-1929
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Construction - lobby
1928-1929
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Tellers and customers
circa 1955-1965
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Bank offices
1955-1965
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Vault use
circa 1929-1965
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Tours
circa 1955-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Holidays
Bulk, 1950-19561946-1966
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Architectural model
1955
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Drawings
circa 1929-1940
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Artificial collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The provenance and source of acquisition of these items are unknown. The lack of documentation about them when the rest of the collection was donated by HSBC Bank in 2006 indicates that they were not part of that accession, but were subsequently added to the collection artificially.

Scope and Contents

38 items, showing both the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building at One Hanson Place and another unidentified bank branch. Materials include black-and-white and color transparencies, black-and-white and color prints, polaroid prints, 3" x 3" and 35mm slides, and two pieces of correspondence that were grouped with photographic materials.

circa 1941-1962

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Box
Oversize
 

Series 2: Architectural drawings, Bulk, 1927-1929 1910-2001. 4.15 linear feet

Scope and Contents

This series consists of approximately 200 architectural drawings and plans for the design and construction of One Hanson Place. The architectural drawings include ground plans, elevations, architectural drawings, technical drawings pertaining to plumbing layouts, mechanical drawings, vault plans, electrical and lighting layouts, and supporting design documents.

A detailed preliminary inventory of architectural drawings, completed in 2007, is available at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library.

Box
1
 

Series 3: Ephemera, 1888. 0.1 linear feet

Scope and Contents

One copy of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank bylaws, dated 1888.

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