22 October 2007

Ward Healer

There aren't many visual delights to be enjoyed on the taxi ride to JFK. If you trace the long depressing line of Atlantic Avenue to Conduit Boulevard, all get are fast food chains, gas stations, auto garages and plenty of urban blight.

There are exception, of course, including an outlet of the old Brooklyn Fire Department. One sight I always look forward to is the bygone grandeur of the Twenty-Sixth Ward Bank Building. A stately, salmon-colored-stone building, it gracefully curves around a southwest corner on the far end of Atlantic. (See my lousy, taken-from-a-taxi photo above.) It's obviously been out of commission for some years, though something appears to be happening to it; in the last year, the top two stories of the bank were replaced by some new construction. Condo? Thankfully, the handsome base of the building remains.

I can't find out much about the Twenty-Sixth Ward Bank of Brooklyn, except that is was founded in 1889, and in 1903 merged with State Mechanics' Bank of Brooklyn. That merger, in turn, was swallowed up by State Brooklyn Trust Company in 1929. On and on these mergers went, according to an account of New York bank history I found. The biggest and final fish was Chase.

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