Robert Gere Bank Building
121 East Water Street

Completed in 1894 at a cost of $150,000, this structure was built for James J. Belden and named after his father-in-law, Robert Gere.  The authors of Architecture Worth Saving call it architect Charles E. Colton's finest work. Although the fire-proof  bank vaults still exist beneath the sidewalk, the building has not been used as a bank since 1906. It contains one of the few remaining open screen elevators in the country.

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Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS,NY,34-SYRA,22-1

The building's shape was determined by the narrow building site between two other buildings. AWS says, given this shape, "this structure depends for its distinction on a fine five-story facade."

"The fenestration follows a scheme popularized by H. H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan, with rhythmic arcades interrupted at floor levels by spandrels. The lower part of this facade is treated as a basement, in gray granite; the upper part emphasizes  vertical lines, the piers being executed in light red brick proportions, the contrast of materials and scale of the details -- all give evidence of careful study and sensitivity of form. The interior still retains a fine open elevator with a bronze well screen, and marble flooring and wainscoting."

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