The building that now houses the Chemung County Historical Society was once the original Chemung Canal bank. It opened in 1833 as the first bank in Elmira. Amman Beardsley designed and built the two and a half story brick structure, combining elements of Greek Revival and Federal styles. The brick construction was unusual because most buildings in Elmira were made of wood at that time.
|Chemung Canal Trust Co., c. 1905
|Bank Vaults at the museum
Many features of the banking floor remain
in the museum gallery including the wood
columns, terrazzo flooring, and tin ceiling.
The Tammany Bank of 1873 is a mechanical bank.
When “Boss” Tweed is handed a coin he puts it into his pocket.
The Union Bank, made by Kenton Brand
around 1905, has a combination lock.
Traditional piggy bank that is also a souvenir of Elmira, early 20th century
Cast iron camel, rabbit, and elephant banks, early 20th century
A generic Bank bank from the early 20th century
Wooden Presbyterian Church bank “used to
House Money and to Pay Off Mortgage,” 1930s
The Uncle Sam’s Register bank from the 1930s
records change as it is deposited and has an
added security feature – the bank will lock
when the first $.25 is added and it will stay
locked until it reaches $10.00.
These banks from Mechanics Savings Bank of Elmira and Elmira Bank &
Trust Co. from the 1940s record the amount of change as it is deposited.