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Ossining Almanac: Ossining Bank For Savings

With ornate detailing and doorway pillars, the imposing Ossining Bank for Savings building at 200 Main St. is a cornerstone of Ossining's historic downtown. The village is waiting for a new owner to come in and open its doors once more.

The bank building was constructed in 1906 in a style of architecture called Beaux Arts. Architect Lansing Holden designed the bank out of stone using both Greek and Baroque influences.

After serving as a bank until 1983, the building was vacated and passed among a succession of owners until 2004, when the last private owner, John Gouveia of Peekskill, sold the building to the Village of Ossining for one dollar.

The village has put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) to develop the building. In the RFP, the village emphasized that it would like to preserve the historic aspects of the buildings exterior, but the interior could be completely remodeled without fear of damaging its historic integrity.

During a public workshop, participants proposed that the building could possibly be used for a restaurant, an audio-visual center or an indoor farmers' market.

The Ossining Bank for Savings was originally known as the Sing Sing Bank for Savings when it was created on Aug. 18, 1865 by a group of prominent Ossining citizens. It first opened on the northeast corner of Highland and Croton Avenues and garnered $3,900 in deposits from 48 people by the end of 1865.

In 1896 the bank moved into a building at 197 Main Street. With a growing number of clients, bank officers and trustees began planning the construction of a new building to meet the bank's needs.

On May 25, 1908, the current 200 Main St. building was completed at a cost of about $50,000, and the bank's name was changed to the Ossining Bank for Savings. At that point, the bank had about $2.9 million in deposits.

The Ossining Bank for Savings was remodeled in 1949 with two wings added on the east and west sides of the buildingand the circular lobby changed into a rectangular shape. A four-faced pedestal clock made by the Electric Time company was installed in front of the bank in 1952.

In the 1970s, the Ossining Bank for Savings changed its name to the Westchester Bank For Savings and then again to Peoples Bank of Westchester. The bank moved its operations around the corner to 2 Church Street in 1983, vacating its venerable digs at 200 Main St.

The Village was awarded a grant of $150,000 in 2005 by the National Park Service to repair the old Ossining Bank for Savings' roof, façade and pedestal clock. Plans were made to turn the building into a cultural arts center before the village put out an RFP to elicit other ideas from developers.

The deadline for RFPs for the site was June 3, 2011.

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