Standing Tall for All: First Bank of the United States Recognized for Historical Significance

Article written by Kyle Purchase on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association 
Photo credit: National Park Service

On June 6, 2018, the First Bank of the United States was awarded the American Institute of Architects’ Landmark Building Award, presented by The Preservation Alliance of Philadelphia. The award was given in honor of the bank's architectural design and historical and political significance to the United States in years after the American Revolution, initiating the beginning of a new independent republic.

The bank received its charter in 1791, signed into law by President George Washington. The bank was part of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s plan for establishing a unified federal economic system to help manage the nation's debt after the Revolutionary War. The bank is the oldest building built by the federal government still standing today.

The building has been designated as a protected National Historic Landmark, but there is a need for fundraising for ongoing preservation of the building and for use as a museum. With artistic elements dating back to 1797, the restoration of the bank has been managed by the First Bank of the United States Restoration Committee. Referring to costs from their 2014 restoration budget, the entire project was implemented with an estimated cost of $25,000,000!

The purpose for the preservation of the bank is to help maintain the stories that can be told about the development of the American economic system, and to educate the youth about the time of our nation’s founding and maturation after the Revolution. It was a critical time for the country, which was beginning to trade among states and with foreign countries to establish trading partners. Today, the bank and the efforts to restore it offer opportunities within the various exhibits throughout the bank for students to learn about our country’s history and learn about financial institutions and economies.

If you are interested in donating to help their endowment fund and their efforts in preservation, here is their link below.