Riggs National Bank

1503‑05 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

The headquarters of one of the city's most important banks is an excellent example of Classical Revival bank architecture from the Beaux Arts period. Prominently sited opposite the U.S. Treasury, it influenced the design of other city banks. The bank was established in 1840 as Corcoran & Riggs, by William W. Corcoran (a former official of the Second Bank of the U.S.) and George Washington Riggs (the heir of a New York banking family). The bank purchased many assets of Second Bank of the U.S. after its failure, and handled numerous Federal government transactions including the financing of the Mexican-American War (1846‑48), early international sales of U.S. bonds, and the Alaska purchase (1868). It also financed notable private ventures including construction of the first U.S. telegraph line to Baltimore. It has served many Presidents and notables, and played a major role in addressing the 1933 banking crisis. The bank was located at the site of the former home of Second Bank of the United States in 1846. On Corcoran’s retirement in 1854, it was renamed Riggs & Co. It was federally chartered as Riggs National Bank in 1896. The monumental granite bank with its impressive facade of ionic columns, and lofty skylit banking hall with neoclassical decoration was built in 1899‑1902. York & Sawyer (of New York) were the architects. The 1922-24 addition was designed by Appleton P. Clark, Jr.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: July 16, 1973

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1503‑05 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW