“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bromo Arts District in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Provident Savings Bank

Provident Savings Bank Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
1. Provident Savings Bank Marker
This imposing building, appropriately designed by Joseph Evans Sperry to suggest an old treasure chest, is the home of Provident Savings bank, the father of branch banking among mutual savings banks of the nation. Incorporated in 1886 with the exalted purpose of "cultivating habits of thrift and prudence among the wage-earning classes," the bank opened six branches throughout the city that year, at locations convenient to the working person.

The idea of branch banking, however, was the brainchild of John Marshall, a Portuguese ex-sailor who worked as a janitor at the Friends Gospel Mission in South Baltimore. In 1884 he suggested to the managers of the Mission that the men who frequented the Mission's Reading Room be encouraged to deposit small amounts of money with the manager on Saturday evenings. The manager, in turn, would deposit the total in a local savings bank on Monday morning. The first evening $11.55 was collected and the system continued until 1886 when the Maryland General Assembly granted Provident its charter.

The building, which now houses the central office, was built in 1904 on the site of the old Saratoga
Former home of Provident Savings Bank image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
2. Former home of Provident Savings Bank
Hotel. The interior, once a lofty space with an 83-foot-high ceiling, has been filled over the years with three additional floors to accommodate the bank's growth. Provident now has over 30 branches, including the six original ones.
Erected by the City of Baltimore, Provident Savings Bank, sponsor and William Donald Schaefer, mayor.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Maryland, Baltimore City historical markers series list.
Location. 39° 17.565′ N, 76° 37.188′ W. Marker is in the Bromo Arts District in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of North Howard Street and West Saratoga Street, on the left when traveling north on North Howard Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Westside (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Alphonsus Parish World War II Memorial (about 500 feet away); Beehler Umbrella Factory (about 600 feet away); South Union Building (about 600 feet away); G. Krug & Son (about 600 feet away); Rectory of Old St. Paul’s Parish (approx. 0.2 miles away); To Commemorate the Inauguration of a Chemical Industry in America
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); Baltimore Equitable Society (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bromo Arts District.
More about this marker. The marker features three images: of the Light Street Friends Gospel Mission, of the original interior, and of the Saratoga Hotel.
Regarding Provident Savings Bank. The location is no longer a bank.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 26, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,657 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 30, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.
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Sep. 19, 2020