Provident Savings Bank

Provident Savings Bank (HM403)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21201
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 17.565', W 76° 37.188'

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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 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.
HM NumberHM403
Series This marker is part of the Maryland: Baltimore City Historical Markers series
Placed ByThe City of Baltimore, Provident Savings Bank, sponsor and William Donald Schaefer, mayor
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 6:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 360314 N 4350514
Decimal Degrees39.29275000, -76.61980000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 17.565', W 76° 37.188'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 17' 33.90" N, 76° 37' 11.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 443, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 240 N Howard St, Baltimore MD 21201, US
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