About the Site
The Historic Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg
We respectfully acknowledge that Tender Presence is on the unceded lands of the Lenape, the ancestral home of the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie tribes. Forced to surrender Lenapehoking, their land, to European colonists, many Lenape moved to Canada and westward; later, much of the population was relocated by the US government to Oklahoma, where they established a reservation. Despite this coerced removal, there are and have always been Lenape inhabitants living here, acting as stewards of the land and their culture, including contemporary efforts to establish a cultural center, and preserve and teach their language. Beneath the colonial identification of any site in North America, there are histories that have been erased, overlooked, contested, and forgotten. We understand that land acknowledgements are often used as an empty stand-in for actual decolonization work and are committed to confronting the ongoing effects of this colonial legacy.
The historic Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg was built in 1908, designed by prominent Brooklyn architectural firm Helmle & Huberty, during a period of tremendous growth in Williamsburg following the construction of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903. It was officially landmarked in 2018.
Throughout the mid-19th century major commercial and financial institutions were being built to serve Williamsburg’s thriving economy and growing immigrant population. Though there were many institutions available for banking, these banks were not uniformly regulated, which made depositing money associated with risks that frequently deterred people, particularly low-income residents, from using their services. The savings bank movement, that catered to small depositors, and were generally established by local community leaders and business people helped to eliminate the general public distrust of banking at the time. Savings banks became important symbols for humanitarian ideals and social progress as they provided low-income workers with the opportunity to save.
Today, the neoclassical landmark enters its next chapter as the face of The Dime, a residential property by award winning Charney Companies and partner Tavros Holdings.