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Brief History of The Ossining Bank For Savings  
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Brief History of The Ossining Bank For Savings

(Compiled by Trustee Miguel Hernandez)

 

On August 18, 1854, a group of prominent Ossining citizens met to complete the formal organization of the Sing Sing Bank For Savings and elected Dr. Benjamin Brandreth as its first President. Later that month the bank opened for business at the First National Bank Building, located on the Northeast corner of North Highland and Croton Avenues. By the end of that year, forty-eight people opened accounts and deposited a total of $3,900.39.

 After 42 years at the above location, on June 8 1896, the Sing Sing Savings Bank moved into its own building at 197 Main Street At that time, total deposits were $1,300,000.

 By 1901, deposits reached the $2,000,000 level and the bank’s officers and trustees begin to consider a new building to meet current and future needs.

 In 1906, the bank’s officers selected architect Lansing C. Holden to design and supervise the construction of their new bank building. It was to be made of stone, square in plan and in the Beaux Arts style. The cornerstone was laid in December of that year.

 On May 25, 1908, the building was completed at a cost of approximately $50,000 and the name of the bank was changed from the Sing Sing Savings Bank to the Ossining Bank For Savings. By that time the deposits had risen to $2,954,000.

 In 1949, the bank was enlarged. Two wings were added on the East and West sides of the building. The original circular lobby was made rectangular and the vault that had been at the building’s North-side was moved to the West Wing and the board room was placed in the East Wing.

 A public reception was given on September 22, 1949 by the Trustees to mark the formal opening of the refurbished and enlarged building.

 A four face pedestal clock manufactured by the Electric Time company was installed on January 30, 1952 in the front of the building.

 In 1954, the 100th Anniversary of the Ossining Bank For Savings was marked by a reception and a booklet on it’s history was published. Deposits reached $18,000,000.

 In 1962, the Bank's Briarcliff Manor branch opened at 1300 Pleasantville Road.

 On April 1 1970, The Ossining Bank for Savings changed its name to the Westchester Bank For Savings and in 1977 Westchester Bank For Savings became Peoples Bank of Westchester.

 Finally, on August 19, 1983, Peoples Westchester Bank closed the building at 200 Main Street and moved its operations to a brand new building around the corner at 2 Church Street.

 From 1983 to 2004, the building had a succession of owners and in early 2004, the last private owner, Mr. John Gouveia of Peekskill, NY, conveyed the building to the Village of Ossining for the sum of $1.00. A Village-commissioned study indicated that renovations to make the Building useful as a potential cultural arts center will cost approximately $2,900,000.

 On January 27, 2005, Congresswoman Nita Lowey formally announced that the Village had been awarded a grant of $150,000 by the National Park Service for repairs to the roof, façade and the pedestal clock. Plans were begun to raise the additional money needed to restore the building and turn it into a cultural arts center.

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