NYC - LES: Former Jarmulowsky Bank
Constructed in 1895 at the intersection of Canal and Orchard Streets, this was once the tallest structure on the Lower East Side. The building housed a private bank established by Sender Jarmulowsky, which served the Eastern European Jewish community. Jarmulowsky arrived in the United States from Russia in the early 1870’s and by 1878 had established his bank in a pre-existing building in the immigrant district.
In 1912, Sender chose architects Rouse & Goldstone to erect his modest 12-story loft building on the same corner he established himself 30 years earlier with a rusticated limestone lower section and a terra-cotta upper part. Perhaps the only thing setting it apart from other buildings, besides its size, was a giant, circular tempietto—a roofed screen of columns—that rose 50 feet to a dome ringed by eagles.
When the father decided to build, he chose neither Meyer nor a showy design. In 1912, with the architects Rouse & Goldstone, he put up a reserved, 12-story loft building with a bank on the ground floor at the same corner where he had established himself 30 years earlier.
Sender died in 1912 before his building was completed and his sons Harry and Louis continued the business. In 1917, as depositors withdrew nearly $3M to send overseas to relatives caught in the war, the State Department took over the bank which was saddled with liabilities of $1.25M and assets of only $600k. Harry and Louis were indicted for fraud, the bank never reopened and the building was sold at a bankruptcy auction in 1920.
In 1990, Sing May Realty, made a variety of façade repairs from cleaning and repointing to new windows. But perhaps more importantly, the tempietto was demolished leaving the LES skyline without one of its signature elements, and rendering the building unexceptional.