Kings County Savings Bank
Learn more about Kings County Savings Bank
Kings County Savings Bank is a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated building in the Williamsburg section of New York City. It is an example of French Second Empire style architecture. Construction of the building began in 1860, and it was continuously occupied by banks until the 1990's. The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center has been operating in the building since 1996.
The Kings County Savings Bank building was built between 1860 and 1867. It is 43 1/2 by 81 feet on the outside dimension and is constructed of Dorchester sandstone. It has three main floors, each a single large room. On the first and second floors, the main rooms contain six tall Corinthian columns, formed of cast iron, while the third floor is entirely open. The first floor retains its massive gas chandeliers and ornately carved woodwork.
Although the designer of the bank, William H. Wilcox of the Brooklyn firm King & Wilcox, is relatively unknown, the building is a superb example of the French Second Empire style. For example, the building displays the characteristic Mansard roof, which conceals the fourth story attic.
The Kings County Savings Institution was charted on April 10 1860. It carried out business in a building called Washington Hall until it purchased the lot on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Broadway and erected a permanent home.
The Kings County Savings Bank has long been considered a landmark of Williamsburg. By 1900, during the construction of the Williamsburg Bridge, the neighborhood had changed, and the Bank building was already seen as an icon of "old Williamsburg." It remains one of the most important historical landmarks in Williamsburg, and was recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966, the seventh building to be so designated.
The building remained in continuous bank ownership and use for well over a century. During the early 1990's, after the building ceased to be used for banking, it was occupied by a pair of eccentric artist "time travelers," McDermott & McGough. They wanted to show that all time was "now time." They dressed in 19th century garb and kept a fashionable lifestyle of the 19th century.
 Bank Timeline
From the public records:
- 10 April 1860 NYS Chartered Kings County Savings Bank
- 31 December 1968 Merge To State Union Square Savings Bank
- 31 December 1968 Name Change To United Mutual Savings Bank
- 24 September 1982 Merge To State American Savings Bank
- 29 July 1983 Convert Federal American Savings Bank, F.S.B.
- 29 December 1989 Convert State American Savings Bank
- 12 June 1992 LID Sold To Ridgewood Savings Bank
- 20 October 1995 Liquidated