Dollar Savings Bank (Emigrant Savings Bank), First Floor Interior

STATUS Designated Interior Landmark


ARCHITECT: Halsey, McCormack & Helmer

DATE: 1932-33

STYLE: Art Deco

The interior of Dollar Savings Bank, the first thrift institution to be organized in The Bronx, is a monumental classicizing Art Deco design. The building was initially constructed in 1932-33 as the bank’s Fordham branch office, then enlarged five years later. The initial branch office and the subsequent enlargment were carried out by the noted finn of bank architects, Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, with the same designer, Adolf L. Muller, in charge. Muller’s supervision provided consistency in the remarkable and original architectural treatment of the banking room space where each element is an integral part of the architectural program. As initially designed, the interior was a two-story space with structurally uninterrupted tellers’ work areas and high clerestories above. An order of elongated terra-cotta corbels, cast in a classicizing Art Deco mode, visually regulated the wall surface. The banking room, an impressive and unobstructed space evoking the strength and stability of savings institutions, achieved its current spatial configuration with a long north-south axis as the result of the 1937-38 enlargement. Elements of the original banking room were replicated, most notably the order of massive corbels, the chamfered comers at the clerestory level, the brass-enclosed vestibule, the bronzework at the window openings, and the chandeliers. The corbel order was integrated with the red marble pilasters on the banking room’s new western and eastern walls. The correspondence of the silver-leafed and paneled ceiling’s broad ribs with the corbels unifies the enlarged space. The banking room is further enhanced by the five murals on the east wall, painted by Angelo Magnanti, mosaicist and illustrator, which depict scenes of the Bronx’s early European settlement. Since 1992, the space, which remains remarkably intact and is accessible to the public, has housed a branch of the Emigrant Savings Bank.

STATUS Designated Interior Landmark

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