Lost and Found
The lot covers nearly two thirds of Block #38 (Lots #1 through #6 specifically). In land use parlance it is a “converted commercial segment.” The lot has approximately 100 spaces. It is operated by City Center Parking.
Besides parking revenue, its low profile allows the side and rear walls of the
As often is the case, there was once something else there.
From 1868 to 1954 the north east corner of Block #38 (
“Few buildings more fully captured the essence of the cast-iron era in
“The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in
The Libreria Vecchia,
It was elaborate, even in an elaborate age.
Crowning the front entrance was a parapet featuring Neptune and Mercury guarding two urns. Originally the buildings cast iron facade, built by
The banks founder, William Sargent Ladd arrived in
W.S,Ladd was elected Mayor of Portland in 1854. By that time he was already established as a local source of credit, loaning money at a 1% interest rate (standard for the era). If not repaid when due, he would accept payment in goods and property. He was not averse to foreclosure. From this business evolved the Ladd and Tilton Bank, established in 1859 with fellow New Englander Charles E. Tilton, of
The original Ladd & Tilton bank operated out of the second floor (added in 1857) of W.S. Ladd’s store on the corner of Front and Stark streets. A third story would be later added in the 1860’s. The Ladd and Tilton Bank soon outgrew the space and moved in 1864 to a temporary location before the the
Picture from “60 Milestones of Progress, 1859 to 1919” by the Ladd and Tilton Bank.
W.S. Ladd’s later career can be read as a chronicle of
When William Sargent. Ladd died in 1893 his estate was worth in excess of ten million dollars.
The Ladd and Tilton Bank at First and Stark. Note the street railway track,
From “The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in
The bank occupied the location at First and Stark until 1911 when it moved to larger quarters in the
The Ladd & Tilton Bank was acquired by U.S. National Bank in 1925 after being crippled by series of bad loans and investments.
The banks former home on First and Stark went through a series of devolving uses until being demolished to create a parking lot in 1954. Contractor / preservationist Eric Ladd (no relation to W.S. Ladd) was able to save the buildings cast iron ornamentation, which was warehoused.
Thus one of
Some lost treasures are less lost than others.
In 1869, at the same time the Ladd and
The building, on the corner of State and Commercial Streets, used identical cast iron façade pieces as the Ladd and Tilton bank in
Over the years the bank was enlarged and altered at least two times. In the picture above, circa 1939, there are eight bays on Commercial Street (two more than in 1869) and seven on State Street (5 more than in 1869) plus a non-matching addition at the south end of the building.
In 1940, after 71 years of successful banking, Ladd and Bush was merged into the Salem Branch of the United States National Bank of
In the mid nineteen sixties, US Bank decided to expand the
The expansion was made possible by augmenting the original cast iron facade of the Salem bank with the identical ironwork from the Ladd and
What can be seen today on Commercial and State is a strong echo of what once stood at First and Stark. It is a hybrid of two closely related buildings that would not likely exist today without each other. The vision of US Bank and the foresight of Eric Ladd allowed
The Ladd banks had a tendency to publish books before disappearing. “Sixty Milestones of Progress” was published in 1919, six years before Ladd and Tilton was acquired by U.S. National Bank. “70 Years” was published in 1939, a year before Ladd and Bush was merged into U.S. National Bank.
In “The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in
Eric Ladd’s salvaged cast iron pieces adorn the Ladd & Bush building in
A copy of “The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in
David Schargel of Portland Walking Tours has announced that there are now openings for tour guides. For details see: