This building, known locally as the Central Savings Bank, opened in 1928, one year before the NYSE crashed. Fortunes ‘evaporated’, banks didn’t. Feel familiar?
It is magnificent, having an interior barrel vault that is sixty-five feet high. It is a testimony to the dominating (if not imperialistic) banking system in the USA. It reeks of classicism, strength, security, and stability. It is stately!
Such a confidence-building structure must appear well defended in a socially acceptable way, unlike in London where broken glass shards are cemented into the top of garden walls to dissuade intruders. In this case, Samuel Yellin, (born to a Jewish family in Ukraine in 1884) was hired to provide security screens for building wall fenestrations. To echo his theme on interior fittings he was also asked to create teller cages, customer counters. vent screens and so forth.
His malleable, buttery creations are a sight to behold! They can be seen up close outside on the building’s massive iron doors, and inside where floral motifs adorn the central teller’s ‘pen’ and the customer desks that line the walls. Also inside, at the north end high overhead is inscribed “Industry”, “Thrift”, and “Prosperity”; this always reminds me of a small, barely noticeable rooming house/hotel in Vancouver BC on which is inscribed “Unlimited growth increases the divide” (by artist Kathryn Walter).
Truth to Power parallel: the Hoovervilles that sprang up everywhere in the USA following the 1929 stock market crash, and the tent cities seen everywhere today.