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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 11, March 16, 2008, Article 17

QUERY: INFORMATION ON HOGGSON BROTHERS AND BANK ARCHITECTURE

Jeff Reichenberger writes: "For several months I've been
working on a study of the old First National Bank building
in my town, Oshkosh, WI. The reason I found it interesting
is because one day last fall I noticed that on the front
of the building above the entry arches there are four bas-relief
medallions depicting the obverse and reverse of the Standing
Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

"The architects were Hoggson Brothers of New York, who were
prominent bank designers of the time - 1910's, 20's, 30's -
I wonder if any E-Sylum readers have heard of them? I'd like
to confirm if any of their other buildings use the same or
similar coin decorations. My web searches have come up empty.
I'd appreciate any information about the Hoggson banks, or
in general, the use of coin images in architecture.

"An interesting side note to the story - in the midst of
working on this, Oshkosh has been visited by advance location
scouts for a big budget movie about notorious gangsters of
the 20' and 30's, starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and
that French woman who won the Best Actress Oscar this year
[Marion Cotillard - Editor], and in fact it's been confirmed
they will use the First National building for a bank robbery
shootout scene with Depp playing John Dillinger. They will
shoot (no pun intended) in mid-April. The working title of
the film is 'Public Enemies', based on a book of the same
title, and is supposed to be released sometime in '09."

[Jeff provided some great close-up photos of the architectural
reliefs. He adds: "The bank was built in 1926 - the rendition
of the Standing Liberty Quarter appears to be from the original
1916 design (bare breast)." -Editor]

First National Bank front view
First National Bank front view

Standing Liberty Quarter Obverse and Reverse
Obverse
Reverse

Walking Liberty Half Obverse and Reverse
Obverse
Reverse

[In 2004 I was the General Chairman for the American Numismatic
Association convention in Pittsburgh.  I wrote an article for
The Numismatist and hosted a companion walking tour of downtown
Pittsburgh buildings with a numismatic connection.   The highlight
of the tour was a visit to the Dollar Savings Bank building,
which sports motifs of a gold dollar coin and the obverse and
reverse of an 1870 silver dollar.  The architects were Hobbs &
Son of Philadelphia.  At first I thought "Hoggson" could be a
verbal mangling of "Hobbs & Son", but it's not - Jeff got the
Hoggson name straight from the bank's blueprints.  Here are
some pictures of Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building:

Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building
Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building
Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building

The old Union National bank building in Pittsburgh, PA was
built in 1906, and the lobby features plaster ceiling medallions
of 1906 Morgan dollars (which were never made by the Mint).
The building was under construction that summer and we were
unable to enter during our tour.  I led a similar walking tour
during the 1989 ANA convention, and we were able to enter the
building then.  It's now a residential condominium.
Union National bank building in Pittsburgh, PA

Below are some excepts from an article about the design and
construction of the Dollar Bank building, which is one of
the oldest continually functioning bank building in the
country. -Editor]

On September 4, 1868, after lengthy discussion, the building
design submitted by Isaac H. Hobbs & Son, architects,
Philadelphia, was adopted. Next month the taking of bids
for the excavation and foundation began.

Architect Hobbs (to whom the building owes its general
stylistic concept) oversaw all construction personally,
with the building committee carefully double-checking
every step.

In March, 1871, came the proud hour when the officials could
occupy the new structure, consisting of the great central
section of the present, expanded building.

"The doorway, is 21 ft. 6 inches high by 10 ft. 10 inches
wide, and the pilaster jambs terminate in two finely
sculptured caryatides on whose heads rest foliated caps
supporting the entablature....In the center is a gigantic
gold type dollar....
Photo

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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