Second Bank of the United States

Philadelphia
PA

The Second Bank, modeled after the Parthenon

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  • 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.
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Eighteenth-century writers seemed uncertain how best to describe Britain’s relation to its many overseas possessions. Only tepidly did they employ the concept of empire since for them it carried uncomfortable baggage from ancient history. The traditional usage suggested that control over distant colonies and expansion into new regions depended on military might. But the notion that Great Britain was a modern-day Rome, dispatching powerful legions to conquer the world, did not sit well with a people who celebrated liberty and rights, the blessings of living under a balanced constitution.

T. H. Breen
The Marketplace of the Revolution (2004)