Essex County National Bank

753 Broad Street

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From: "Newark, the City of Industry" Published by the Newark Board of Trade 1912

On October 28, 1858 a meeting was called to organize a bank to be called Essex County Bank. Minutes of that meeting give the address of the bank as 251 Broad Street. Seven years later, the bankers, having decided to join the national bank system, made application for such a charter, and on June 3, 1865, Freeman Clarke, who was Comptroller of Currency at Washington at that time, authorized the institution to begin business as a national bank.

In April 1969, contracts were signed for the erection of a building at 753 Broad Street, for the exclusive use of the bank. In June, 1911, the bank moved to temporary quarters at 736 Broad Street while building operations for the new building were in progress. Contracts for a new bank building (to be erected on the site of the former building, and part of the adjoining lot), vaults and safety boxes were awarded in July, 1911 and this new building is now finished and in use in the daily business of the bank. Clinton & Russell, of NYC were the architects who designed a building architecturally beautiful as well as chaste and simple in design.

While not a large building, as the term is understood, it is considerably larger than the old one, and is designed to meet every requirement of beauty and convenience needed in a modern banking institution, with ample room for future development. It is to be used exclusively by the bank. The first story, nearly 35 feet in height, is one large monumental room, with a high wainscote of marble, side walls of stone and heavy beamed Italian ceiling with skylights that admit sufficient light to the building.

The officers' section, behind a marble rail at the left of the entrance, provides space for their desks and accommodation for customers. On the right of the entrance is the staircase and elevator. Above the officers' section is a mezzanine containing the directors' room, which extends across the front. At the side of the elevator is a wide stairway to the safe deposit vaults in the basement, the front half of which is devoted to that purpose.

The exterior of the building, or street facade, is of white Vermont marble and bronze. It consists of one large simple arch with flanking pilaster supporting the main entablature and balustrade. In the center of the arch is the marble doorway of dignified proportions, silhouetted against the bronze and glass filling of the arch. The detail is all worked out in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The materials used are the very best of their kind, with no excess ornamentation.

The entire vault is built entirely independent of the building construction, and if the entire building were to fall, as in the case of fire, the construction of the vault is such that it would not be affected. The vault with the interior and all equipment weighs six hundred tons.

A silver vault is placed in the basement for the storage of trunks and silverware. This vault is fire proofed in a thorough manner, and equipped with eight inch doors. The interior is finished with steel shelving, and illuminated by lights controlled from the outside.

The bank staff of officers and employees have at their disposal a scientifically planned machine, instead of so many counters, cages, safes, desk and chairs. The equipment permits of expansion with a minimum of disturbance to business; it can be changed without disorganizing the work of any department, as it was arranged in what is known as "unit form". The modern principle of systematizing to the highest degree has been applied to the equipment as well as to methods of construction and installation.

The woodwork is of mahogany, carefully selected for grain. The steel work has been finished in a shade of green so that the whole effect is harmonious to the eye.