Chemical National Bank on Broadway and Chambers Street


The New York Chemical Manufacturing Company was founded in 1823 and its subsidiary Chemical Bank was chartered in 1824. Manufacturing was dropped in 1832 and the chemical business was dropped in 1844, as the company was reconstituted as a state bank: the Chemical Bank of New York. In 1865, it received its national charter as the Chemical National Bank of New York.

The original office was opened in 1824 at 216 Broadway, corner of Ann Street. In 1850, the Chemical Bank was removed to 270 Broadway. In 1872, the Bank purchased a lot on the rear, extending through to Chambers Street, the extension furnishing additional room at the rear of the original building. In 1888 another building on Chambers Street was acquired, and a spacious addition made to the bank quarters.

About 1905, the old building at 270 Broadway was demolished (see photo below) and a new neoclassical headquarters were completed in 1907, on the same site and on adjacent properties on Chambers Street (photo on the right). The architects were Trowbridge & Livingston. In the meantime, the bank had its offices in a temporary address in the Barclay Building, at Duane Street. The Bank opened in its new building in April, the same year.

According to the New York Times (April 23, 1907), there was a mural decoration with four allegorical figures representing Ceres, Boreas, Helios and Neptune, the earth, air, fire and water of ancient chemistry. The vestibule was finished in Pavonazzo marble and the corridor in white-veined statuary marble. The banking room, which was 70 feet wide by about 170 feet long, abutting on Chambers Street, was 85 feet high, surmounted and lighted by a dome roofed in the center with stained glass. It was finished in panels of veined white marble relieved by Chippelino marble of an olive tint. The department offices were separated from the main room by waist-high partitions of pink marble and dull bronke. In a four-story section of the building there were dining rooms. The vault was built on a small gore of land about 25 feet square.

In 1921, the Chemical Bank bought the 13-story National Shoe & Leather Bank building, at 271 Broadway, corner of Chambers Street. In 1928, the Chemical National Bank moved to a new six-story building, at 165 Broadway. The old site was sold and the Tower 270 was completed there, in 1930.


Chemical National Bank


Old photos of Broadway






Façade of the Chemical National Bank on Chambers Street, with a frontage of about 100 feet. Photo published in 1910 in the book Both Sides of Broadway from Bowling Green to Central Park.



The Chemical National Bank building at 270 Broadway and on Chambers Street (right) in 1914. The old National Shoe & Leather Bank building is on the corner. Below, the site before its construction, circa 1905. Photos by Irving Underhill from the Museum of the City of New York.


Façade of the Chemical National Bank at 270 Broadway, with a frontage of 25 feet. Photo taken on March 19, 1912, by Morris Rosenfeld (1884-1968) from the NYPL.


Chemical Bank


National Shoe & Leather Bank building




270 Broadway


Chambers Street


Chemists' Club


Washington DC


Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old photographs of Broadway, City of New York.




Neoclassical style


The old building at 270 Broadway, headquarters of the Chemical Bank, from 1850 to 1905 (illustration from the King's Handbook of New York City, 1892).


New York State


Antique photographs


Interior of the Chemical National Bank at 270 Broadway, from the History of the Chemical Bank, 1823–1913 (1913).


Chemical National Bank on Broadway and Chambers Street