Remembrance of things past: Albany Savings Bank

AlbanyCitySavingsBank.jpgA building I never saw and miss dearly all the same: The Albany Savings Bank, North Pearl Street. This graceful beauty was built in 1907 by Henry Ives Cobb, artist and architect from Chicago and later Washington, D.C.

The caption here is importantly wrong, as the Albany Savings Bank and the Albany City Savings Bank were completely different things. The latter institution, part of the Corning family empire, was known as Albany City Savings Institution from 1850 until 1921, when it petitioned to change its name to Albany City Savings Bank. That petition was accepted, until it was noticed by the Albany Savings Bank, which thought that there might be some confusion and that, having been in existence under that name since 1820, it had some rights to it. That there was also an Albany County Savings Bank didn’t help matters. A judge agreed: “Is the use of the word ‘City’ sufficiently distinctive? I think not . . . It seems clear to me that in the situation already existing here there is every reason why even persons ordinarily well informed might easily think of the Albany Savings Bank as the Albany City Savings Bank, as distinguished from the Albany County Savings Bank; that ‘Albany City’ and ‘Albany’ are synonymous and indicate the same municipality.” Not getting their way, they went with “City Savings Bank of Albany,” then in 1935 merged with the folks over at County to become City and County Savings Bank. Its building at 100 State Street still stands.

Albany Savings Bank went on, and this building at Pearl and Pine lasted into the 1970s. We haven’t seen photos of the interior, but surely it was grand, as banks were in those days. It was torn down to make way for a ghastly, anonymous glass and brick-panel tower of state offices.

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