Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Sound and Safe-Literally-By the Hudson

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Sound and Safe-Literally-By the Hudson

Article excerpt

Two things Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co. has demonstrated over and over in its 155 years are: 1. its staying power, through tires, depressions, wars, and recessions, and 2. its board's ongoing resilience and willingness to adapt.

When the bank was founded in 1851 by local leaders, Glens Falls was a village of 2,500. The local businesses were lime and lumber, with a growing insurance company operation as well The bulk commodities were aided by the presence of a canal that connected with the Hudson River, for shipment south.

The village grew to a town, and then nearly died. In the midst of the Civil War, downtown Glens Falls burned to the ground, with little remaining ... that is, except a structure here and there, and the vault of Glens Falls National, which at the time was a state bank.

For a time, the bank operated out of the Glens Falls home of a local lumber baron, until it relocated to a new building that served the bank for many decades after: "The Old Brownstone." The building, manufactured from the same type of stone that was very much in vogue for residential buildings in the classier parts of New York City, became a moniker for the bank itself.

"Take out" banking, take out food

In the early years of "The Old Brownstone," in 1870, burglars broke into the back of the bank and soaked thick old U.S. Army horse-blankets in water from a horse trough out back and used them to cover the bank's windows. Having insulated the bank's interior from the outside, the team matter of factly blew open the vault, and made off with $30,000 in cash and hundreds of thousands in nonnegotiable securities. …

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