“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Provident Savings Bank

Provident Savings Bank Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed 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
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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, William Donald Schaefer, Mayor; Provident Savings Bank, sponsor.
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. A significant historical year for this entry is 1886.
Location. 39° 17.565′ N, 76° 37.188′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in Downtown. 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); Straight from the bay… right to the market!
Former home of Provident Savings Bank image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
2. Former home of Provident Savings Bank
(about 600 feet away); Robert & Rosetta (about 600 feet away); More than a building because we're losing count! (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
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 February 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 26, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,976 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 30, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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Apr. 24, 2024