Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn / 9 DeKalb

Built 1906-08; Mowbray & Uffinger, architects. Enlarged 1931-32; Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, architects.

In this 9-minute audio narration, architectural historian Marci Clark, Managing Director at JDS Development Group, reveals the history and significance of the Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, a New York landmark where you could open a bank account for a dime, along with its role as the anchor of 9 DeKalb, Brooklyn’s first supertall skyscraper.

About the Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn

The home office of the Dime Savings Bank, built in 1906-08 and vastly enlarged and altered in 1931-32, is among Brooklyn’s most notable works of commercial architecture and stands as a symbol of that institution’s long and significant role in the history of the borough.

Since its founding in 1859, the Dime has been directed by many prominent Brooklynites who were instrumental in the development of Brooklyn. The bank has always maintained its headquarters in downtown Brooklyn and since the 1880s its buildings have been visually and symbolically prominent in the downtown streetscape. When the bank acquired the present location on DeKalb Avenue, it commissioned the firm of Mowbray & Uffinger to design an imposing structure.

Built in 1906-08, it was articulated as a temple form adapted to the unusually-shaped site. Following several decades of institutional growth, the bank building – by then serving the largest savings institution in the borough – was substantially altered and enlarged in 1931-32; the new design reinforced the association of the bank with classical architecture and emphasized the visual continuity between the old and new buildings.

An outstanding example of neo-Classical design, the marble-clad exterior features stately Ionic colonnades, a soaring dome, and an ornamental program which appropriately allegorizes industry and progress. The alterations were designed by the firm of Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, specialists in bank buildings. For much of the twentieth century, the Dime has ranked among the largest savings banks in the country and its impact on the development of Brooklyn is pervasive.

About 9 DeKalb

Joining the Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, 9 DeKalb is Brooklyn’s first supertall skyscraper at 93 stories 1,066 feet tall. This new residential tower was developed and built by JDS Development Group and designed by SHoP Architects.