Where in the Hudson Valley Contest: “Bank of God” Bank-Turned-Church

Do you know the location of this born-again building?


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Photograph by Frank Roberts

Standing at more than three stories high, this majestic edifice dominates the main drag of a bustling Valley city — and has served two very different purposes.

Construction began on the neoclassical structure sometime between 1928 and 1929 and it opened as the Mechanics Savings Bank. The colossal arched entranceway is by far the most distinguishing feature, but there are two other markings that also set the building apart. Though it may seem odd to our modern eyes, two medallions above the arch depict a worker’s arm bearing a hammer. Such a symbol is most often associated with the former Soviet Union and might seem out of place on a U.S. building. But it was actually quite popular in American architecture during the early 20th century; indeed, such depictions can be found on many structures erected during that time.

Though the bank was built to last, only the structure itself survived. Falling prey to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, Mechanics Savings merged with another local bank in 1935. It wasn’t until 1960 that the building would take on new life. That year, the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church purchased the place and have used it as their house of worship ever since.

Do you know the town in which this bank-turned-house-of-God stands? Submit your answer by completing the form below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!


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