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Continental Bank, Providence

As recorded in 1891:

“The Continental Bank was incorporated as a state bank in 1853. It was located in the What Cheer Building, and had a capital of $200,000. The first directors were: Benjamin R. Almy, George A. Seagrave, Christopher T. Keith, Rhodes B. Chapman, S. S. Bradford, George W. Butts, Bailey W. Evans, Ezekiel Owen and Henry P. Knight. The capital of the bank increased until [unknown], when it was fixed at $500,000, and has remained at that amount ever since, though it has had a varying surplus, which in 1872 amounted to $100,000.

“In 1865 it was reorganized as the Fourth National Bank, its location remaining in the What Cheer Building until 1882, when the bank was removed to its present location at 65 Westminster street. The first president was Benjamin R. Almy. He was succeeded in 1855 by Rhodes B. Chapman, whose long term of service extended to 1886, when he was followed by Bailey W. Evans, the present incumbent. The first cashier. A. G. Durfee, held that position till 1872. He was then followed by Henry R. Chace, who was succeeded in 1880 by Thomas Boyd, Jr., the present cashier. The present directors are: Bailey W. Evans, Ezekiel Owen, Christopher T. Keith, Henry R. Chace, James Tucker, Thomas Boyd, Jr., Albert W. Smith and Robert B. Chapman.” — Richard M. Bayles, ed. History of Providence County, Rhode Island, Volume I. New York: W. W. Preston, 1891.

The Fourth National Bank, charter #772, was absorbed by Industrial Trust’s affiliate, United National Bank, on July 17, 1907.




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Continental Bank. What Cheer building, South Main Street, Providence

Office of the Continental Bank in Market Square. Also home to the Blackstone Canal Bank and the Phenix Bank.
What Cheer building, South Main Street, Providence, WC 0191. Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library, Providence, R.I. Reprinted with permission.


The What Cheer Building at the dawn of the national banking era. Home to the Phenix National Bank, the Blackstone Canal National Bank, the Fourth National Bank, the American National Bank and the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. The Roger Williams National Bank and the Globe National Bank were in the building adjacent to the right. (Rhode Island School of Design’s Chace Center now occupies this site on North Main Street.)

A wider view of Market Square in the late 19th century (Source: Wikipedia.)

A wider view of Market Square in the late 19th century (Source: Wikipedia.)

Market Square today.

Market Square today. At some point after WWII, the What Cheer building was torn down and the location used as a parking lot. In 2008, the Rhode Island School of Design opened up the Chace Center, designed by Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo, on the former site of the What Cheer Building.

© 2015, Old Banknotes From Rhode Island. Please do not republish the images on this website without permission.