North Shore Bank

Our Danvers Branch has quite the historic past

North Shore Bank Danvers Branch from the 1930s

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North Shore Bank History

Peabody Square in the late1800s. 
Photo courtesy of www.old-maps.com

North Shore Bank first opened its doors in 1888. At that time there were just 38 states and only 22 Presidents had served the country. Electricity had yet to be widely established and the most prevalent means of transportation was still the horse and buggy. There was no Central Bank – the forerunner to today’s Federal Reserve — and the country had neither a common currency nor uniform check clearing mechanism. Within this climate it was hardly surprising that fraud and mismanagement were common occurrences and bank failures were not. In fact during the 1800s more than 1,000 financial institutions across the country shuttered for these very reasons.

Nevertheless, in April of 1888 a meeting of citizens was held at the Peabody Institute to discuss the creation of a new bank. Attendees were addressed by then Massachusetts Lt. Governor, John Q. A. Brackett, who would later become governor of the commonwealth.  Brackett was one of the foremost advocates of the new form of co-operative savings and loans and in this group he found a receptive audience. As a result, in May of 1888 the Peabody Co-operative Bank was formed with 15 directors. The first President was George F. Sanger, who also operated a glue factory, while Patrick H. O’Conor was named Vice President and Henry F. Walker, Secretary and Treasurer.

The bank was first located in O.B. Chadwick’s insurance office, rent free.  As business activity increased in what was then the town of Peabody, the bank experienced space problems and ultimately moved to a suite of rooms located at 12 Peabody Square, which was also known as the Thomas block. During this period the bank had just a handful of employees at any given time — they knew their customers by name and recorded every transaction by hand.

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