First Bank

First Bank of the United States

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The First Bank of the United States of America is one of the most important landmarks of the founding period of our country. It is the icon of the United States’ financial foundation, just as Independence Hall is the icon of the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution.

Sitting two blocks from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, it is the oldest surviving federal building designed and constructed (1796) by the federal government.

Chartered by Congress in 1791, the First Bank of the United States operated in temporary quarters while design and then construction of a new building progressed.  Under the direction of Samuel Blodgett, the new building featured a marble portico (the first on any public building in America) with an impressive pediment housing an enormous, carved American bald eagle sculpture.  In 1797, the new Bank building opened for business while Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States. Controversial among those championing states’ rights, its charter lapsed in 1811.

The National Park Service acquired the First Bank building in 1955, adding it to Independence National Historical Park’s story of the early republic’s founding.   The Bank building provided INHP first with a temporary visitor center, then with exhibit and office space.  Today, this historic landmark is not open to the public.

Please join Independence Historical Trust in their innovative project to help Independence National Historical park reopen this extraordinary building and celebrate its singular place in American history.

For further information or to support this initiative, please contact Joyce Walker, Deputy Director at joyce@inht.org or you may download the project brochure here.

 

Donate Now and help us open the doors to the
First Bank of the United States of America

All funds donated will be used solely for the purpose of this historic restoration project.

Additional Information

History of the First Bank