July 31, 2017

Asiatic Building - Salem, Massachusetts

125 Washington Street, Asiatic Block
The Asiatic Building was initially built for the Asiatic Bank in 1855, when it moved from a smaller location in the East India Marine Building (now part of the Peabody Essex Museum). The building was designed by William H. Emmerton and Joseph C. Foster and was built partially on land originally belonging to the First Church and the Higginson Family.


Stereoeview of  Asiatic Building
The Asiatic Building housed multiple banks and financial institutions and was nicknamed “The Bank Block.” Residents included: Naumkeag National Bank, Merchants Bank, Salem Marine Insurance Company, and most notably The Salem Savings Bank. The Odd Fellows Hall was also located on the top floor, and their name adorned the facade of the building.
Around 1855, Washington Street was renumbered; 125 Washington Street until this time was 28 Washington Street. In the 1851 Salem Atlas, a structure appears where 125 Washington Street now stands and in the 1853 Salem Directory it is listed as being the home of Joseph Gardner, Jr. a carpenter.
125 Washington Street was remodeled in the early 20th century by architect Arthur E. French in the Colonial Revival style. The remodel included the removal of the top floor and the construction of a new fa├žade.

Interior of Salem Savings Bank, Asiatic Building

Interior of Salem Savings Bank, Asiatic Building

Asiatic Building from Town House Square

Asiatic Building and Washington Street


*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections

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