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

George Washington ordered his overseers to begin the 1767 wheat harvest on June 24, a hot, cloudy Saturday at the end of a dry week. Thus began twenty days of unrelenting exertion for Mount Vernon’s slaves and no little anxiety for their master, who for the first time had given over his holding almost entirely to the cultivation of grain. Much depended on the success of this experiment, which was a crucial element in Washington’s scheme to free himself of the debts he had accumulated over the years of failing to produce tobacco that would sell on London’s finicky market. Rich as he was in land, he feared that, like so many of his fellow planters, he too would become permanently dependent on his English merchant creditors. It was a fate he dreaded above all, for to suffer it meant that he would lose the essence of a gentleman’s character, independence, and with it the capacity to behave in a truly virtuous way.

Fred Anderson
Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 - 1766 (2000)