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Old Colony Trust: 1913

Old Colony Trust: 1913

Boston, 1913. "Old Colony Trust Company, main office, Court Street at Court Square." With on-street parking for ice wagons. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Not sure about ownership of 17 Court Street, but the years don't match up with the bank names. Prior to 1982, Fleet was Industrial National Bank which has a long history in my native Rhode Island going back to 1791. My parents worked for INBank (as it was known) in the late 50's/early 60's.

The First National Bank of Boston became Bank of Boston in 1982, then BankBoston in 1996 after merging with BayBank. BankBoston then merged with Fleet in 1999, and then Fleet merged with Bank of America in 2004.


Here's hoping the building next door was never set ablaze -- imagine the inhabitants reeling and retching as they rotate down that spiral fire escape!

And thanks to Doug for supplying the construction date of The World's Oldest-Looking Three-Year-Old Building.

Learn Something Every Day

The tall building next door is the historic 1893 Ames Building, Boston's first "skyscraper" and the second tallest masonry load bearing-wall structure in the world. It's gone from boutique hotel to Suffolk University dormitory now.

Ames Building

Both of these buildings still stand, almost 110 years later. An earlier poster is correct: the Old Colony Trust Building is now a homeless shelter for veterans. The building to its right is the Ames Building, erected in the 1890's, and the tallest building in Boston at the time, until the Custom House Tower was constructed some years later. It was converted to a hotel about 15(?) years ago, but was recently sold to Suffolk University, whose campus is now scattered around downtown Boston. It will serve as dormitory space for Suffolk students, who have had a long-standing issue with affordable residential space in the very pricey Boston real estate market. Very handsome building.

17 Court Street, Boston

Both building and trust have been through some changes.
The Old Colony Trust Company was founded in 1890.
* In 1910 it merged with the City Trust Company in Boston, forming the second largest trust company in the United States, with capital of $2.5 million, surplus of $10 million, and deposits totaling nearly $70 million.
* In 1929 it merged with First National Bank of Boston, creating largest private bank in New England.
* On January 4, 1971 it became inactive, and Fleet National Bank was the successor bank. On the same day it was merged into and subsequently operated as part of The First National Bank of Boston. Very possibly Fleet took part of the portfolio or operation and sold the bulk to Boston.
* In 2005 it was merged into and subsequently operated as part of Bank of America.
From what I can tell, all these mergers were voluntary and not the result of financial distress.

The building was only three years old when the 1913 photograph was taken. The interior was not complicated. I do not know what all different purposes it has served. Today it houses the New England Center and Home for Veterans.

Recent renovations to this building

This has been the New England Center for Homeless Veterans for a long time. A few years ago they did a beautiful job replicating the awning you see in the LOC photo. It had been simplified in the '60s style at some point, but now it's very appropriate for the building.

These Buildings Endure

Likewise, the Old State House, just out of the photo at right. But the neighborhood is now dominated by steel and glass towers.

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