Wednesday, September 1, 2010

☞ REMEMBER: Harlem Savings Bank circa 1911

The old photo circa 1911 of the south end of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue shows a corner that hasn't changed much except for some of the names of the establishment. The bank building at right in the top photo is the Harlem Savings Bank which finished this particular grand structure in 1908. In latter years, the successful bank (4th largest New York-based bank) would change its name to the Apple Bank for Savings which currently still holds court in the old building today (lower photo). The corner building to left was called McClatchey's Bank Hotel and currently houses a pizzeria and a bodega. To far left of the top photo, the old Provident Loan Society Building can be seen (on 124th Street) of which a previous post was written about: LINK. Archival photo courtesy NYPL. Current photo by Ulysses


  1. When I was in the 4th grade (ca 1965) a rep from Harlem Savings Bank came to our school one day and taught us the basics of savings & checking accounts and signed each one of us up for a savings account. In those days you got a passbook and we would show up weekly and deposit the meager proceeds of our allowances.

    By the time I got to 12th grade I had a nice little bundle which helped with college applications, paying for the SAT's, etc.

  2. Greg ,

    Great story ! The question is....Why aren't we doing that NOW in our schools ????

  3. MsCiara, I would have to venture a guess that the kind of program Greg described would actually be politically controversial these days, given the level of reflexive mistrust of the banking industry that has permeated certain circles.

    Moreover, to the extent that financial literacy is not among the topics that we currently test for, any such instruction is likely to get cut under budget pressure.

    If we could make it part of the standard school curriculum, with a real proficiency requirement for graduation, I agree that it would be a great thing...

  4. Greg,

    I attended Our Lady of Lourdes on W.141st between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues. We also were introduced to a bank savings account at Harlem Savings Bank. Our branch was located at W.145st near Bradhurst Ave where the new condos are now located. We would bank .50cts a week, which was great given that a quart of milk at that time cost .25-.50cts!( I remember this as I often had to go to the store for this).

    Unlike you I tapped this account for Christmas presents when I was graduating 8th grade so I didnt have quite a tidy sum as you had.

    Nevertheless it has been a lifelong habit to try to save and have a bank account that was introduced to me by this bank account.