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Exchange Bank, Providence

As noted in 1891:

“The Exchange Bank was incorporated in February. 1801. Its capital has been from the beginning $500,000. The first cashier was Stephen Jackson. The presidents have been: Amos Troup, Cyrus Butler, Samuel Nightengale, Benjamin Aborn, who was in the office in 1838, and continued until 1852. In that year John Barstow became president, continuing till 1865, when he was succeeded by Elisha Dyer. Alexis Caswell succeeded in 1866, to 1869, when Rufus Waterman followed. He was followed in 1876 by Henry L. Kendall, who continued till 1884. In that year Nicholas Sheldon took the position, which he still holds.

“The successive cashiers from 1838 have been: Henry G. Gladding, to 1865; William H. Corey, 1865 to 1869; C. H. Sheldon, 1870 to the present time. George Curtis and Henry E. Hudson were successive cashiers in the interim following Mr. Jackson. The location of the bank has been at 55 Westminster street since 1847. It was previously located at No. 1 Westminster street. It was organized as a national bank in July, 1865. The present directors are: Francis S. Brownell, Nicholas Sheldcn, John A. Brown, Amos G. Nichols, Henry T. Beckwith, Lyman Klapp, William H. Pope.” — Richard M. Bayles, History of Providence County, Rhode Island, Volume I. New York: W. W. Preston, 1891.

The bank’s home on Westminster and Exchange streets was originally a rather plain brick building with granite trim that housed several other businesses (see photo below). In 1888, architects Stone, Carpenter and Wilson extensively remodeled the structure in the Queen Anne style. The new edifice came to be known as the Exchange Bank Building, or simply the Exchange Building. In its early incarnation this address was listed as 55 Westminster. Later, that same location was #62. Today, the building is known by its 28 Kennedy Plaza address.

Rumors that the National Exchange Bank was about to be absorbed by the Manufacturers Trust Company, (formerly the Manufacturers Bank) circulated in 1905, but it never came to pass.

On February 26, 1926, the Industrial Trust Company acquired the bank and its offices became the Exchange Branch of the company.

In 1985, Fleet Financial (the successor to the Industrial Trust Company), constructed its new headquarters between Westminster Street and Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence. As part of that project, the old Exchange Bank building was extensively renovated and still stands today (see below).


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Certificate from the Exchange Bank, dated November 17, 1840, for Harriet Halsey Creighton of Providence, stating that she is the owner of 38 shares of stock. Signed by Henry G. Gladding, cashier.

The Exchange Bank, far left, sometime between 1865 and the building’s remodeling in 1888.

At left: the Exchange Bank at the intersection of Westminster and Exchange Streets, sometime between 1865 and the building’s remodeling in 1888.
(Source: Library of Congress.)

The National Exchange Bank building on Westminster after its renovation.

The National Exchange Bank building on Westminster after its 1888 renovation. Visible is the structure’s steeple, which is not present today. Courtesy of the City Archives, City of Providence. Reprinted with permission.

National Exchange Bank

This photo from the 1920s shows the National Exchange Bank’s name in the window of the second floor of 63 Westminster Street.

The Exchange Bank building today.

The Exchange Bank building today.

Detail of the façade.

Detail of the façade. The dates represent the year construction was begun on the original building (1844) and the year Stone, Carpenter and Wilson began remodeling in the Queen Anne style. (1887).

Check from June 4, 1899 featuring a depiction of the bank's building.

Check from June 4, 1899 featuring a depiction of the bank’s building.

Bank check

Bank check for 85 cents paid to Tilden-Thurber, January 16, 1908. Signed by Theodore Francis Green. Green was Governor of Rhode Island from 1933 to 1937.

A vintage stamp from the bank.

A vintage stamp from the bank.

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