Prudential Life Insurance

1875-1878: Broad & Mechanic Streets
1878-1883:215 Market Street
1883-1892: 878-880 Broad Street
1892-1960: 761-769 Broad Street (first)
Architect - George B. Post
1960-Present: 751 Broad Street (second)
2015-Present: 679 Broad Street (third)

Gibraltar Building - 151-165 Halsey Street

Founded 1873


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"The Home of the Prudential"

Official Web Site

Newspaper Articles

May 3, 1903 - Prudential Fire Apparatus
February 11, 1906 - Prudential's Beautiful West Building is of French Transition Architecture
September 26, 1909 - New Prudential Building is Going Up Rapidly
November 21, 1909 - Prudential's Four New Wells to Give 576,000 Gallons Daily
December 16, 1945 - No Ban on Pru Workers' Sweaters

The Prudential Insurance Company was founded in 1875 as "The Prudential Friendly Society". The building pictured above was of Romanesque Gothic architecture and only part of the Prudential Insurance complex. Bank Street, also known as the "Canyon" ran between the main buildings. The Prudential buildings contain 32,000 tons of Indiana limestone, 11,000 tons of marble, 24,000 tons of iron and steel and 22,000,000 bricks. The total floor area was 690,000 square feet and the total contents 15,000,000 cubic feet. The height of the tower is 268 feet and the tower water tank held 50,000 gallons. There were 52 elevators, 436 telephones and three connecting tunnels. The buildings had self contained steam and electric power, water plants and an extensive sprinkler and vacuum system.

The following is a listing of the Presidents of the Prudential Insurance Company taken from the book "From Three Cents a Week" by William H. A. Carr.

Transcribed by Michelle Groel

Allen L. Bassett, the first president (1875-1879).
Noah F. Blanchard, the second president (1879-1881).
John F. Dryden, the third president (1881-1911)
Forrest F. Dryden, the fourth president (1912-1922).
Edward D. Duffield, the fifth president (1922-1938).
Franklin D'Olier, the sixth president (1938-1946).
Carrol Meteer Shanks, the seventh president (1946-1961).
Louis R. Menagh,Jr. the eighth president (1961-1962).
Orville E. Beal, the ninth president (1962-1969).
Donald S. MacNaughton, the tenth president (1969-1970) also chairman of the board and chief executive officer(1970- ).
Kenneth C. Foster, the eleventh president and chief operating officer (1970-1973).
Robert A. Beck, twelfth president and chief operating officer (1973- ).

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

The Prudential commenced business back in 1875. Its assets consisted of an idea, a few men with unlimited faith in the idea and about $95,000 in cash.

Today the Prudential has over 10,000,000 policies in force. It is simply impossible to calculate the stupendous good that this has done. It is a long record of homes saved, of families kept from possible poverty, of freedom from worry for thousands of wives and mothers; of chances to make good starts in the work, of helpfulness in a thousand ways.

The Prudential offers a line of policies designed to meet the wants of every insurable man regardless of how large or small his income may be.

Its industrial or weekly payment policies are intended especially for wage workers. The premiums which are for small amounts, are payable weekly to agents of the Company who call for them. These policies are issued to both sexes between ages 1 and 65. The small premiums make it possible for every healthy member of the family to be insured.

The Prudential issues what it calls Intermediate policies. These are for $500 and $750. and are for folks who, although they do not want a large amount of insurance, prefer to pay their premiums at longer intervals than a week. Then there is the Whole Live and the Limited Payment Life. The Endowment policy requires premium payments for a pre-arranged number of years only. At the end of this period the amount of the policy is payable in cash to the insured himself. If he should die before this time it is payable to his beneficiary.

The Prudential also issues a Monthly Income Policy. This is no doubt one of the most admirable life insurance contracts ever offered to the public. It provides for the payment of the policy in regular monthly installments, instead of a lump sum. This plan does away with the necessity and risk of investment. It guarantees an income, regular and unfailing, free from danger of loss.

From: Rider's Newark 1916

The Prudential Insurance Company is housed in a group of buildings occupying a large part of three city blocks, two of them lying between Broad and Halsey Streets, on the north and south side of Bank Street and the third in the rear at the northwest corner of Bank and Halsey Streets. The four buildings comprising the group, and erected successively (the latest in 1911) were all designed by George B. Post and consequently show a general uniformity of construction. The style is in the main classic, with Romanesque detail, and a blending of flamboyant French Gothic, all skillfully harmonized.

The two lions supporting shields, over the Broad Street entrance to the main building, are carved in brown Indiana limestone, from designs by Karl Bitter. The other external stone carvings, including the gargoyles and the drinking fountain at the Bank Street corner, are also of limestone, and were executed by George Brown & Co. of Newark from drawings by George P. Post & Sons.

The buildings contain some admirable mural paintings and other features of artistic interest. For permission to visit them, apply at the superintendent's office on third floor of main building.

The Prudential Insurance Company was founded in 1875 by the Hon. John F. Dryden (later U. S. Senator), who was the pioneer in America in the field of popular insurance at easy rates of payment, thus placing insurance within reach of the masses. The company estimates that at the present time more than thirty million persons are protected by its policies. There are no branch offices, the vast army of agents reporting directly to the headquarters in Newark. The office staff comprises more than 3500 employees.

On the lower floor of the main building is a small library for the use of the employees. It is affiliated with the Newark Public Library to the extent that any book contained in the latter may be borrowed through the Prudential, as through it were a branch library. Its rooms situated in the southwest corner are worth a visit, for they contain models, not only of the present buildings, but also of all their predecessors, from the original humble beginning in the basement of a one-story shop. Adjacent to the library, in the rotunda, is a full length bronze statue, heroic size, of John Fairfax Dryden, mounted on a pedestal of pink New jersey granite, presented in 1913 as a "tribute of esteem and affection from the Field and Home Office Force." (Karl Bitter, sculptor.)

The chief point of interest is the Board Room, on the tenth floor. From floor to ceiling, the walls are lined with Caen stone, the entire surface of which is covered with delicate hand carving, no two panels being alike. The designs are outlined with traceries in gold. On the ceiling is a large central panel by Edwin H. Blashfield, showing how Increase, Foresight and Constancy, Thrift, Order and Temperance lead the People to Security. Security, the central figure, holds in one hand a shield, emblem of protection, and in the other an hour-glass, a reminder that our days are numbered.

Around the walls are eight lunettes. At the south or window end Prudence, with her shield, shelters the Family, while to left and right respectively Commerce and the Growth of Cities are symbolized by men loading a ship and by architects in Romanesque costume. (Artist, Siddons Mowbray). At north end are represented Intellectual and Physical Force, the former pictured with the features of Erasmus (a typical scholar), the latter as a young Roman. To right and left are figures representing the Arts and Industries. On the east or main doorway side are three lunettes: Youth and Age by Mowbray: Prudence binding Fortune, by Blashfield: and between them a panel with an inscription from one of Senator Dryden's speeches: "A wonderful Business; a Business with a Noble History; a Business with a Lofty Aim; a Business with a Magnificent Purpose; a Business with Splendid Results."

On the opposite side: Industry (a mother showing her child a bee-hive), by Mowbray; Thrift driving the Wolf from the Door. by Blashfield; and between them The Rock of Gibraltar, by Mowbray. In the vaulting and pendentives are sixteen medallions and rectangles, painted in cameo, white on blue (Blashfield and Mowbray). The general color scheme, the dominant tones of which are gold and red, was supervised by Elmer E. Garnsey.

The visitor should not fail to note the four lofty bronze candelabra, on either side of the mantel and the entrance door. They are of Italian workmanship, the originals from which they were copied being in the Church of San Giorgio Venice.

The room contains four portraits: Hon. John F. Dryden, (1839-1922), by Madrazo; Dr. Leslie Ward, Medical Director 91844-1910), by Madrazo; Edgar B. Ward, Second Vice President, by Madrazo; Noah F. Blanchard, Vice President, by Carroll Beckwith.

Adjoining the Board Room are two Committee Rooms, in French Renaissance style, with high wainscoting, elaborately carved in panels and pilasters, the wood being imported from the Black Forest.

Before leaving the main buildings, note the front staircase of pale yellow marble, richly wrought in delicate lace-like traceries. On the first landing are three stained-glass windows representing Prudence, Protection and Strength.

Across Bank Street, in the new building, is the Assembly room, the chief purpose of which was to afford a gathering place in which the hundreds of traveling agents could receive systematic instruction regarding their work. Its chief features are a ceiling of richly carved and gilded work; an ornamental screen in the rear of the presiding officer's platform suggestive of the reredos of a cathedral, and two large lunettes, by Edward Simmons.

In the north end, Insurance, symbolized by a husbandman planting a fruit tree; beside him are Ceres with her sickle, and Hope with a branch of blossoms. In the south end, Benefits, typified by Abundance, a female figure hearing a Horn-of-Plenty, ministering to a Widow and her Children.