Monuments to Money

The Architecture of American Banks


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About the Book

To understand the evolution of bank design, it is also necessary to grasp the fundamentals of America’s banking and financial history, which go hand-in-hand with the creation of bank architecture. While the worldwide evolution of architectural styles played a major factor in the way banks look, developments in the financial history of the nation—depressions, panics, government monetary and banking policy—also played a critical role.
With more than 200 photographs and illustrations, this work studies the evolution of American bank architecture from 1781 (when America’s first bank was founded) to new banks of the present day. It explores how and why the classically inspired structures built in late 18th century America, embodying strength and trust, evolved into the essentially anonymous bank buildings of today.

About the Author(s)

Architect and writer Charles Belfoure lives in Westminster, Maryland. He is the coauthor of The Baltimore Rowhouse.

Bibliographic Details

Charles Belfoure
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 358
Bibliographic Info: 222 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6413-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements      vii
Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. The Early Republic: Neo-Classicism and the Federal Style      9
2. The Jacksonian Age: The Greek Revival      42
3. The Gilded Age: Victorian Eclecticism      70
4. The Turn of the Century: The Classical Revival      125
5. The Early Moderns: Sullivan and the Prairie School      194
6. The Great Depression: Modern Classicism      212
7. Postwar Prosperity: Modernism      244
8. The Twenty-First Century: Financial Department Stores      289
9. New Uses for Banks      308

Notes      315
Selected Bibliography      329
Index      333

Book Reviews & Awards

“banks were built impressively…to convince customers their investments were solid and their savings secure…provides many photos and line drawings”—C&RL News.