At first housed in the relatively diminutive Carpenter’s Hall, the Second Bank of the US commissioned the construction of a new, larger headquarters on Chestnut Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, just northwest of the first Bank of the US building, in 1819. Designed by architect William Strickland, who modeled it after the Parthenon, the building was completed in 1824 and cost almost $500,000. Eight fluted Doric columns grace the outside of the structure, complimenting the 12 fluted Ionic columns uplifting the bank’s spacious interior of almost 12,000 sq. ft. Much like tall office buildings today, the headquarters of both national banks were deliberately designed to evoke the awe and admiration of customers and passersby, monuments in stone to the presumed underlying financial strength of the institutions. Today the Second Bank’s headquarters house a National Park Service portrait museum.
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