Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Pelham National Bank Building in the Village of Pelham

The Pelham National Bank was organized on March 18, 1921 with a capital of $50,000 and a surplus of $12,500. It opened its doors for business on Saturday July 30, 1921 in the lovely little building that still stands at 89-91 Wolfs Lane. The building, known originally as the “Brook Building” is today’s home of Integrity Fitness, Kravitz Realtors and Chiropractic Center of Pelham.

During its first four years, the bank grew modestly. But, it grew enough so that it became too great a burden for Bank President L. Ogden Thompson who still maintained “New York City interests.” Thus, on January 23, 1925, the directors elected John T. Brook president of the bank.

Almost immediately Brook began growing the bank and selling additional shares of stock in the bank. In January 1927, the bank acquired from Brook the plot of land we know today as One Wolfs Lane at the corner of First Street and Wolfs Lane. Brook had purchased it on behalf of the bank from Alfred B. Stone who had conducted a business known as Burke Stone Real Estate Corporation from a small building on the lot for some years.

The Pelham National Bank Building
at One Wolfs Lane as it Looks Today.
The bank planned to build a grand three-story bank building that could be expanded to a height of nine stories as the bank grew. By 1929, the bank’s assets supposedly had grown to nearly $3,500,000.

Architect's Rendering Showing Plans for
Future Expansion of Building to Nine Stories.

John T. Brook and the officers and directors of Pelham National Bank had confidence in the bank’s future. So much so, in fact, that they planned and built a solid and imposing structure at One Wolfs Lane that became the bank’s new headquarters. On April 10, 1928, Brook turned the first shovelful of earth at the new building site and was photographed in the cab of an immense steam shovel used to remove much of the rocky outcropping necessary to prepare the site.

On March 30, 1929, after the site had been prepared, a grand ceremony was held for the laying of the cornerstone of the building – in a driving rain that foreshadowed what was to come.

The bank opened its new headquarters on September 14, 1929. Built by John T. Brook Company, the building cost $250,000 to complete, an astounding sum at the time. The bank’s future looked promising, but looks can be deceiving.

Only weeks after The Pelham National Bank opened its new $250,000 headquarters, the stock market shuddered. Soon the bank failed and John T. Brook was jailed on charges relating to that failure. Today the Pelham National Bank Building houses Pelham’s branch of the United States Post Office.

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At 3:42 AM, Blogger John Milton said...

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