Second Bank of the United States

Philadelphia
PA

The Second Bank, modeled after the Parthenon

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QUICK FACTS
  • Designed by William Strickland (1788 - 1854) who won a competition in 1818. Famous for his Greek Revival architecture, The Second Bank building is Strickland’s fifth completed building, and the one that made him famous.
  • In 1828 Strickland accepted a commission to replace the steeple to Independence Hall. The original wooden steeple from 1750, badly damaged, had been removed in 1781. The steeple we see today is a restoration of the Strickland steeple completed in 2012.
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Completed in 1824, it is used today as a portrait gallery for 185 paintings of colonial and federal leaders, many by Charles Willson Peale.
Associated People

Jefferson was in most respects a typical slaveholder. Although he always condemned slavery, he did own one of the largest slave populations in Virginia. Upon the division of his father-in-law’s estate in 1774 he became, in fact, the second-largest slaveholder in Albemarle County. Thereafter the number of his slaves remained around two hundred — with increases through births offset by periodic sales to pay off debts. Jefferson was known to be a good master, reluctant to break up families or to sell slaves except for delinquency or at their own request. Nevertheless, between 1784 and 1794 he disposed of 161 people by sale or gift. It is true that Jefferson was averse to separating young children from their parents; but once slave boys or girls reached the age of ten or twelve and their working lives began, they were no longer children in Jefferson’s mind.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)