Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally East Brooklyn Savings Bank, now Chase Bank
Address: 971-975 Bedford Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner DeKalb Avenue
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1920-1922
Architectural Style: Neo-classical
Architect: Koch & Wagner
Other works by architect: Ralph Bunche House, Kew Gardens; Ridgewood Masonic Temple, Bushwick
The story: The East Brooklyn Savings Bank was founded in 1860. Like most local banks of this period, it was started by area businessmen and merchants as a place where they could conveniently park their money, while offering the neighborhood banking services.
Savings banks were always popular in growing neighborhoods, in part because you didn’t have to be rich to have a savings account, just thrifty. And thrift paid off, as savings banks offered interest. The banks grew rapidly.
Soon after the bank incorporated, the first branch opened on the corner of Franklin and Myrtle avenues. It was a small building, and the bank soon moved to a larger building across the street at 643 Myrtle Avenue, where it stayed until 1922.
That building still stands, although the founders of this bank would never recognize it.
As time passed, the East Brooklyn Savings Bank grew, and eventually opened branches in Bay Ridge and other neighborhoods far from its base. It was among Brooklyn’s most successful savings banks. (more…)