The building at 227 Main Street in the village of Southport in Fairfield was built in 1833 as a bank. It was originally a branch of the Connecticut Bank of Bridgeport, chartered in 1832. The branch later became the Southport Bank, independently chartered in 1851 (it became the Southport National Bank in 1865). After an embezzlement (Oliver T. Sherwood, the bank’s Cashier, was charged with defaulting on bank notes after he fled town; he was later imprisoned) the Southport National Bank went into receivership in 1903 and was reorganized as the Southport Trust Company. The building was converted into a residence in 1923.
At 87 Post Road East (at the intersection of Church Lane) in Westport is a flatiron-type building built in 1924 to house the Westport Bank and Trust Company. The bank was founded in 1852 by Horace Staples (1801-1897) as the Saugatuck Bank. Soon renamed the First National Bank of Westport, it long occupied offices in National Hall in Westport, which it shared with the Westport Savings Bank, founded by Staples in 1863. The two banks merged in 1913 and eleven years later moved into the new building, designed by Charles E. Cutler (1881-1962), in the developing downtown east of the Saugatuck River. The building, later home to Hudson United Bank, has two large (10’x12′) murals that are reminiscent of works of the WPA-era. The murals were painted in 1965 by Robert L. Lambdin (1886-1981), a local artist, and depict scenes from Westport’s history. They are entitled Shipping on the Saugatuck and Hotel Square. In 2005 the building was restored as mixed-use retail space by David Adam Realty, which saved and refurbished the original exterior, terrazzo flooring, murals and four of the five bank vaults.
Chartered in 1849, the Norwalk Savings Society occupied various spaces, including rooms in the United Bank Building from 1868 into the early twentieth century. The bank constructed a Classical Revival building at 48 Wall Street in 1923. An interesting incident in the history of Norwalk’s banking industry is related in the 1901 volume Norwalk After Two Hundred & Fifty Years as follows:
The history of a savings bank, as a rule, does not make an exciting narrative, particularly when it is carefully managed and its depositors successful and thrifty. Norwalk’s savings banks have enjoyed every advantage contributing to a peaceful financial life. Once only the Norwalk Savings Society by having a “run,” precipitated by the thoughtless attempt at wit on the part of a local newspaper. In the rear of the Street Railway barn was a high mound which had furnished the building sand of Norwalk for several years and was believed to contain a further abundant supply. Without previous indication the sand was exhausted and cobbles only were found. The local paper, departing from its usual course of recording the sickness of Mrs. Smith’s child or the painting of Brown’s rear fence, essayed a “scoop” on the sandbank incident and announced that the managers of the oldest bank in town were astounded to discover that their reserved deposits, which they believed to be good were on examination found to be worthless. The explanation that the statement referred to a sandbank was never read bv many bank depositors, but grabbing their books, they demanded payment from the old Norwalk Savings Society. To the credit of the paper it must be said that every effort was made by it to overcome the ill effects of its silly joke. Unauthorized statements and injudicious news items have in other cases and in other papers done harm to the business interests of Norwalk, even where every wish of the publishers was for the growth of the industry referred to.
The brick commercial building at 242-244 Main Street in Bristol was built c. 1873 to house the Bristol Savings Bank. Organized in 1870 by Miles Lewis Peck, the bank was previously located in a building that was destroyed by fire in 1873. Bristol town offices were housed on the upper floor of the building until the turn of the century. The space was then occupied by the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. The building is now home to The Shaffer Company, Inc., a mechanical contracting company founded in 1890.
The Bank of Commerce of New London was chartered in 1852 and became a national bank in 1864. As related in A Modern History of New London County, Connecticut, Volume 2 (1922), edited by Benjamin Tinkham Marshall:
The first business transactions of the bank were in the office of Williams & Havens, whaling merchants, on October 14, 1852, when notes aggregating $11,000 were discounted—a fair day’s business for an infant institution. Subsequently the bank obtained permanent quarters in the second story of the Union Bank building, at the present location of the Union Bank and Trust Company. When the Crocker house building was constructed, the National Bank of Commerce took a lease of its present location for fifty years from April 1, 1872.
The directors, desiring to furnish their patrons with the best convenience and comforts for transacting business, decided to erect a building which the bank would occupy at the expiration of its lease of the Crocker house quarters, or earlier if possible. To this end a lot was purchased on State street, next east to the First Baptist Church, extending around the church, with a frontage on Washington street as well as on State street, and the present fine home of the National Bank of Commerce is the result of its decision to own its own home.
The building at 42 Bank Street in New London was built in 1833 in the hope that it might be used as a federal customs house. In the end the building, which resembles a Federal and Greek Revival-style row house, became home to the Whaling Bank. The bank, the third oldest in New London, was founded in 1833 by a group of whaling merchants that included Joseph Lawrence. It became the National Whaling Bank in 1864 and remained in existence until 1943.
The Central National Bank Building, at 363 Main Street in Middletown, was built in 1915. The bank was in business from 1865 to 1955. Considered to be the first modern office building in Middletown, it later housed Hartford National Bank and Trust and now Webster Bank.