Mechanics Bank, Providence
As recorded in 1891:
“The Mechanics’ Bank was incorporated in June, 1823. Its early location was on the second floor at 21 Market Square. Later it was domiciled at 25 South Main street, and about 1851 was removed to 27 South Main. In 1867 its location was 37 South Main. In 1881 it occupied its present location at 46 Weybosset. It became a national bank in April, 1865. Its capital stock is $500,000, and its surplus has increased from $150,000 in 1875 to $195,000 in 1889. The first board of directors was composed of: Thomas Howard, Peter Grinnell, William Pabodie, Stanford Newel, William T. Grinnell, George Baker, John Larcher, William P. Greene and Joseph Howard. The first president was Peter Grinnell. Amasa Manton held the position for a long term of years previous to 1867. He was then succeeded by Moses B. Lockwood, who was followed in 1873 by Lewis Dexter, and he in 1884 by James H. Chace…
“Josiah Lawton was the first cashier. John A. Field was cashier for about half a century previous to 1873, when he was followed by Samuel H. Tingley.” — Richard M. Bayles, ed. History of Providence County, Rhode Island, Volume I. New York: W. W. Preston, 1891.
An interesting news item regarding Mechanics National appeared in the Evening Telegraph on January 11, 1899. Under the headline, “City Needs Fewer Banks,” it was reported that Howard O. Sturges, one of the organization’s directors, had suggested at that year’s annual meeting that the institution consider liquidation. He contended that the city’s banks were overcapitalized and that many were considering consolidation. Sturges suggested that the issue be put to the stockholders. The resolution was handily voted down, but the concern presaged the wave of acquisitions achieved during the next decade by the city’s three majors trust companies: Industrial, Hospital and Union.
Despite the wave of consolidations and acquisitions, Mechanics remained independent at the dawn of the 20th century. It should noted, however, that Industrial Trust did purchase the Mechanics Savings Bank in 1904. At the time, the savings bank (chartered in 1854) was the largest in the state and its president, Charles H. Harrington, was also president of the Mechanics National.
During this time, Mechanics advertised its location as the corner of Dorrance and Exchange Place in downtown Providence. Later, it listed its address as 34 Dorrance Street.
As a national bank, Mechanics issued close to $13 million in currency. 199 notes still exist today, according to the National Bank Note Census.
On October 23, 1943, Industrial Trust acquired Mechanics National Bank.