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Office Building

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Bank of Delaware
1815–1816. 1931–1932 relocated, Charles O. Cornelius of Holden, McLaughlin and Associates. 1958 wing, Albert Kruse. Lovering Ave. and Union St.
  • Office Building (Bank of Delaware)

Constructed for the first bank in the state (established 1795), this is one of Delaware's finest public buildings of the Federal era. For generations it was a familiar presence in downtown Wilmington, at the busy northeast corner of 6th and Market streets. It contained both banking house (front entrance) and cashier's residence (side). White marble was employed extensively, including for the thin, monolithic Ionic columns and tympanum at the main entrance, stringcourse, and cornice. The words “Bank of Delaware” carved on the stringcourse may be original; some dates added later, perhaps in 1907, refer to the chartering (1795) and re-chartering (1865) of the bank. An earlier generation of historians attributed the building to Pierre Bauduy, without evidence. The interior was remodeled in 1907 and windows were inserted into formerly blind openings beside the front door.

The Bank of Delaware was liquidated shortly after 1929, and Delmarva Power and Light planned to demolish it to erect a corporate headquarters. In response to this threat, Mary Wilson (Mrs. Henry B.) Thompson founded the Old Delaware Bank Association and interested the recently formed Delaware Academy of Medicine in utilizing the relocated building as a medical library and meeting place. Thompson was jeered as a balmy sentimentalist but pressed ahead. Charles O. Cornelius, former curator of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and designer of a home for the Thompsons, was hired to adapt the building. He took pious care to rebuild the structure accurately on its new suburban site at the foot of Kentmere Parkway. Citing an inability to expand, the Academy of Medicine sold the historic building in 2002 to a law firm, which undertook a renovation (2003–2004, Bernardon Haber Holloway).

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Data

Timeline

  • 1815

    Built
  • 1931

    Relocated
  • 2003

    Renovated

What's Nearby

Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "Office Building", [Wilmington, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-WL89.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 141-142.

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