One would like to know who designed this unusual sign with the upside down name and the tumbling dollars delivering the dreams of an IRA, vacations, college, apartments, and a "Statesman Club" (what is that?).
One very remote possibility is Alexander Grinager (1865-1949), a theatrical designer, who "won wide acclaim for his mural paintings." Why Grinager? It turns out he was related to the founder and president of the First Federal Savings & Loan Association of New York, who was Gardner W. Taylor (1888-1949). Grinager was Taylor's step-father. Among attendees at Gardner W. Taylor's funeral, 4 Nov. 1949, was Taylor's mother, Mrs. Alexander Grinager. It is remotely possible that Grinager designed this sign for Taylor's new building in 1949, although, if so, everything had to come together very quickly. The building was constructed in 1949 and both Grinager and Taylor died the same year.
According to www.faqs.org the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of New York was established in 1934 and was acquired in 1982 by the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rochester.
The building is located at the southwest corner of 14th St. and 1st Ave., and it was constructed in 1949. It is described at www.metrohistory.com, in New Building Notice 49-103, as a "5-sty bank & office bldg, 43 x 60." The architects were R. B. O'Connor and W. H. Kilham Jr., 101 Park Ave. The name of the bank is inscribed above the second story windows on both street sides (click for image).
This item in the New York Times in 1948 describes the acquisition of the building site, "Title to the four-story building at 237 First Avenue, southwest corner of Fourteenth Street, opposite Stuyvesant Town, has been taken by the Bronx Federal Savings and Loan Association, Gardner W. Taylor, president, which plans to demolish the structure and erect a modern bank building for a branch office. ..." (The Bronx Federal Savings and Loan Association was another of Taylor's banks.)
Gardner W. Taylor died suddenly 1 Nov. 1949. As reported in the Daily Boston Globe, 2 Nov. 1949, pg. 1, "Washington, Nov. 1 (AP) - While an airport radio man frantically tried to keep them apart, a giant passenger plane and a Bolivian fighter rammed together today, killing 55 persons in the worst airplane disaster in history. . . . Among those aboard the airliner were: ... Gardner W. Taylor, 60, president of the First Savings and Loan Association of New York."
Taylor's obituary in the New York Times, 2 Nov. 1949, pg. 12, read, "Gardner W. Taylor of 8 Locust Lane, Bronxville, N. Y. was the founder and only president of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of New York since it was organized in 1934. He was 60 years old. ... Mr. Taylor was born in Huntsville, Mo., and attended elementary and high school in Yonkers, N.Y., and Columbia University Extension Division. Before entering the home loan field in 1923, when he organized the Bronxville Federal Savings and Loan Association, he had had varied interests in the lumber industry. In 1937, he organized a savings and loan association in the Bronx, now a branch of First Federal, which has branches also in Parkchester and Stuyvesant Town. Mr. Taylor was a director of the Bronxville Trust Company and was recently nominated for a Class A directorship of the Federal Home Loan Bank. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mabel Brazier Taylor, and three daughters, Mrs. Robert Ensign, of Bronxville; Mrs. Malcolm Watson, of Highland Park, N. J., and Miss Suzanne Taylor, a student at Cornell University."
This ad for the First Federal Savings & Loan Association appeared in the New York Herald Tribune, 6 January 1936, when the bank was located in Rockefeller Center.
Years later the Stuyvesant Town branch at 237 1st Ave. at 14th St. was listed among others in this ad from 1953.
And even later the Stuyvesant Town branch was listed among many in this ad from 1978.
The Manhattan telephone directory listed First Federal Savings & Loan Assn. of NY, Stuyvesant Branch, through 1982. The final listing was for First Federal Savings & Loan Assn. of Rochester with a branch at 237 1st Ave. in 1983.
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