Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Union Dime Savings Bank's Two Buildings

The souvenir building coin bank of the Union Dime Savings Bank is rare and sought after by collectors. The metal replica’s base reads, “Union Dime Savings Bank. Sixth Avenue and 40th st. New York. Established 1859” Made by Art Metal Works of Ohio, the replica is 2.5 inches tall, finely detailed with an aged patina and dates from the 1930’s. The real building, which faced Bryant Park, is no longer standing. As you can imagine, a bank as old at this one (established in 1859 in a different NY location) has a long history and full of changes. I could not find much information about the real building, but it seems to have been built in 1906 and torn down in 1956. From The New York Times August,7,1906: Union Dime bought property at “the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Fortieth Street, a plot fronting 98.0 feet on the avenue and 110 feet on the street, opposite Bryant Park, or Library Square. On the plot, the bank will erect a building of monumental character, solely for its own use.” In 1956 the building was sold and torn down in the name of ‘progress.’ From the New York Times January 18, 1956: “The Union Dime Savings Bank will move out of its present home office at 1065 Avenue of the Americas next week-end to make way for a new thirty-two-story building, J. Wilbur Lewis, president, announced. The bank building and an adjoining office building on West Fortieth Street will be razed to clear the way for the new structure, which is scheduled for completion late next year. The new building will be constructed by the General Realty and Utilities Corporation. The bank will occupy the first three floors.” The new building in this location was unimaginatively named “1065 Avenue of the Americas.” The 38-floor building, which was completed in 1957 and designed by Kahn & Jacobs, is now owned by The Swig Company. A newer 5-inch-tall plastic coin bank replica of the new building was produced in the 1960’s.

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