Emigrant Savings Bank
2516-2530 Grand Concourse
Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, architects
Adolph L. Muller, architect in charge
1932-1933, additions 1937-1938 and 1949-1952
Just north of the busy Fordham road shopping area, this former Dollar Savings Bank building, with its prominent four-sided clock tower, continues to dominate the neighborhood. Officially designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as a landmark in 1994, this building is the largest bank structure in the Bronx. The building was constructed in three stages by the architectural firm of Halsey, McCormick & Helmer. The firm was known for its many fine bank commissions in New York City, in large measure due to the well-connected George H. McCormack’s early career as a banker.
While many construction projects were halted following the Great Depression, this bank’s original building was completed in 1933 and was designed to inspire confidence by potential depositors. Expanded in 1937-1938 and clad in polished pink Texas granite ashlar, this building has a bank room with an impressive high ceiling and north wing, along with a one-storied south wing. Recessed sculpted doorways are set between arches, enhanced by massive windows with decorative metal grilles. Plaques imprinted with savings mottoes are set above the central windows. One such quotation is from Abraham Lincoln: “Teach economy. That is one of the first virtues. It begins with saving money.”
The ten-story office building and tower structure, built from 1949-1952, uses red brick that contrasts with the pink granite ashlar of the original building. Bands of uninterrupted windows have metal spandrels and the setbacks give the building visual relief. Positioned in the upper northwest corner of the tower, the bank’s four-sided clock can be seen for up to two miles from around the Bronx. For many years, the clock was lit up at night.
The interior of this site, which was also designated a New York City landmark in 1994, is a rectangular banking hall that is well appointed with marble, limestone, bronze and terracotta finishes. Five stunning murals by artist Angelo Manganti adorn the marble walls and portray such early scenes from Bronx history as Jonas Bronck’s purchasing land from the natives and horsemen crossing the old King’s Bridge, the first bridge connecting Manhattan to the Bronx.
Emigrant Savings Bank has been using this building since 1992.
Janet Butler Munch
Lehman College Art Gallery and
Lehman College Library/CUNY and Lehman College Art Gallery