And Trust Company
The Brookline Savings and Trust Company, shown above in 1953, was a local banking institution headquartered at 820 Brookline Boulevard, the site of the present-day PNC Bank. The company was chartered in 1926 and remained in operation until 1969, when it was absorbed into larger regional banking instutitions.
The Brookline bank was instrumental in the growth and development of the neighborhood. Through its innovative financial services and customer outreach programs, it helped many local homeowners and merchants as they coped with the hardships of the Great Depression.
In the 1930s, the bank initiated the Consumer Credit Service. Later, in the 1950s, when most regional banks were offering 1% interest on savings, Brookline Savings and Trust Company offered 2.5%, the highest rate allowable. Another popular service was the availability of checking accounts with no service charge.
On July 19, 1961, the bank opened a branch office with drive-through office on McNeilly Road, another banking first in the area. The location had four drive-through tellers to provide customers with a fast and easy way to make deposits and withdrawals.
This drive-through branch office, like the main location along Brookline Boulevard, is also now operated by PNC Bank and the drive-through windows are still that location's feature attraction. The Brookline Savings and Trust Company also operated branch offices in Washington and Derry.
Brookline Savings and Trust was the predominant choice of local residents for their banking needs and is often fondly remembered by Brookliner's as the place where they opened their first checking or savings account. Throughout its forty-three years of service, the Brookline Savings and Trust Company continually retained a high customer satisfaction rating.
The Original Bank Building
When the Brookline Savings and Trust Company opened in 1926, the building was only half the size as it appeared in 1953, and employed only three people. As the bank grew, the front of the structure was modified with the installation of a distinctive pre-cast concrete facade.
The photo above shows the bank as it looked for the first two-plus decades of service. In 1941, an addition was added to the rear of the building to provide more office space.
One of the original board members and future president of the Brookline Savings and Trust was Professor Joseph W. Moore, one of the community's most influencial businessmen and a local resident. Professor Moore also served as the principal of West Liberty and Brookline Elementary School for nearly forty years, from 1900 to the late-1930s.
The other original board members were P.S. Space, the bank's first president, John E. Crawford, Attorney Hermann Ruoff and S. Adino Wood.
Continued Growth Of The Brookline Savings And Trust Company
From a humble beginning in 1926 as a community institution with three employees, by 1953 the bank had grown into one of the most progressive financial institutions in Western Pennsylvania, with over 20,000 depositors and a staff that included over 120 employees.
In 1937 the bank reported total resources of less than $1,000,000. In 1945 the bank had capital of $200,000 and a surplus, undivided profits and reserves of $131,000.
By June 1953 those numbers had grown to capital of $450,000; surplus $1,100,000; undivided profits $160,000 and reserves $1,106,000. The Consumer Credit Department alone handled over $1,500,000 monthly. The Brookline Savings and Trust reported combined resources of $18,000,000. In total, the bank handled over 55,000 accounts.
Along with the population growth in the community of Brookline, the bank continued to experience an increase in business until it was sold in 1969.
Bank Expansion And Reconstruction - 1952
In 1952, local builders J.J. McGaffin Construction were contracted to remodel the inside of the bank building and the outer facade, installing an ultra-modern facing made almost entirely of solex glass panels that deflect the light and heat of the sun.
The sides of the building were to be covered with cream colored swedish granite. Below is an artist's rendition of what the proposed new bank facade would look like.
The project, originally scheduled to take sixty to ninety days, was delayed when the Ben Franklin Store, which stood adjacent to the bank building at 818 Brookline Boulevard, was purchased.
The construction plans were modified and the two buildings merged into a single integrated structure. The enlargement nearly doubled the size of the bank building. The final design appearance is shown below in an artist's rendition.
The New Bank Building - 1953
After construction was finished, the bank held a formal re-opening on September 22, 1953. Brookline's new bank building, with it's gleaming granite facade, sported a completely modern and distinctive look.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contained a large feature advertisement touting the occasion. The two-page spread contained pictures of the new building and told of the many new amenities offered to customers.
The article also thanked the people of the Brookline community for their confidence in the bank over the years, and gave special mention to the many businesses that helped in the advertising and promotion of the new facility.
Inside, the first floor was occupied by general banking rooms, executive offices and a row of partitioned teller counters. Gone were the old-fashioned cages and teller windows. The new counters and customer check desks afforded patrons privacy as well as additional lobby space. Indirect lighting and air-conditioning provided a comfortable atmosphere for both customers and employees alike.
The bright reception room created a warm impression on people who wanted to open new accounts, buy Government Bonds, obtain Traveler's Checks or apply for Consumer Credit service loans. The bank also offered a utility window where bank customers could pay their gas, light and phone bills.
The second floor of the building contained the Consumer Credit Department, and the bookkeeping offices were housed in the basement. The entire building was equipped with the latest office furniture and equipment, including a central filing system. This unique equipment allowed employees to post as many as 1800 account transactions per day.
The bank officers at the time of the 1953 reopening were: President Joseph Moore, Executive Vice President J.R. Pursell, Vice Presidents C.S. Miller and George M. Cote, Assistant Vice President George N. Adams, Treasurer C.R. Mussetter, Assistant Treasurers John W. Tarn, Elmer Goelz and J.S. Gerlach, Secretary Carl J. Schiffhauer, Assistant Secretary A.E Kubelick and Trust Officer F.M. Reeves. The Directors were John E. Crawford, Theodore A. Rauch, Louis Beinhauer Jr., A.R. Marsico, William H. Miller, State Legislator Olaf E. Olsen and Attorney George B. Berger.
Independance Day 1954
On July 4, 1954, Brookline held the annual Independance Day Parade. In the photo below, Scouts from Troop #6 and Pack #601 pass the intersection with Flatbush Avenue, followed by a procession of vehicles. The Brookline Savings and Trust building, with its cream-colored granite facade, stands a bit further down the boulevard near Stebbins Avenue.
Two Iconic Symbols Of Brookline's Past
Two trolley cars, one inbound and one outbound, pass near Flatbush Avenue along Brookline Boulevard in 1965. The Brookline Savings and Trust building stands to the right. Streetcar service in Brookline came to an end in September 1966. The Brookline Savings and Trust Company followed in 1969. Within a span of three years, two of the iconic symbols of Brookline were relegated to history.
Some Memorabilia From The Brookline Savings And Trust
Old Pittsburgh Press
and Brookline Journal Advertisements For The
Brookline Bank Billboard and Pittsburgh Pirate Souvenir
A 1966 billboard advertising a free regular checking account at the Brookline Savings and Trust Bank is posted along the front of a building on Fifth Avenue in Oakland, while outbound streetcars pass as they head towards the University of Pittsburgh campus. Below is an ad that appeared on the front of a 1967 Pittsburgh Pirates gameday souvenir booklet.
Joseph Moore (1873-1968)
The Future Of The Brookline Savings And Trust Building
After many years of service to the community, the Brookline Savings and Trust was sold in 1969. The operation was absorbed into other regional banking institutions. Since then, it has been a branch office of Western Pennsylvania National Bank, Equibank (shown below in 1985), Integra Bank, and National City Bank.
In 2009, during the United States national banking crisis, and subsequent government bail-out, Ohio-based National City Bank was purchased by PNC Bank, headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh. The building facade took on the familiar blue colors of Pittsburgh National Corporation. The inside of the bank was completely remodeled in 2012.
Then, in October 2016 PNC Bank the Brookline Branch office. For PNC customers, the closest bank is now located on McNeilly Road. Ironically it is also one of the Brookline Savings and Trust's former offices. As of January 2020 the original building on Brookline Boulevard is still vacant.
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