Derby History Quiz

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The old Derby Savings Bank as it appears today

Lest we forget, the owl in the quiz was not part of the original building, but was added at some later day. Ironically, if you look carefully, you can see a companion on the building next door which dates from 1835!

The Derby Savings Bank was not the first bank in Derby, but it was its most famous starting from humble beginnings in 1846. It was granted a charter by the Connecticut General Assembly on June 12 as the Derby Society for Savings and accepted its first deposit on August 11. It was opened as a "mutual" savings bank for the benefit of its depositors with no stockholders. The bank was originally operated from the back room of Sidney Downs shoe store at 168 Main Street  where it stayed for 11 years before moving to a building at the corner of Caroline and Main Streets. It operated from the second floor while the Manufacturers Bank which owned the building was on the first floor. The Manufacturers Bank later became the Birmingham National Bank.

The men who established the bank were the leaders of the community including Edward N. Shelton, John Howe, David Plumb, David Bassett, Henry Atwater, and Sheldon Smith among others. The first deposit was for the princely sum of $3.00 and the first loan was made in the amount of $600. The bank began paying dividends on January 1, 1847.

In 1893, the Bank purchased the property from the Birmingham National Bank and rebuilt the entire structure. It stayed there until it built a new facility on the corner of Main and Olivia Streets in 1923.

It moved for the final time as part of Derby's downtown redevelopment efforts in 1976 when it built another new facility on the corner of Main and Elizabeth Street. That building will soon be transformed into a new city hall as the Derby Savings Bank disappeared from the landscape during a wave of bank mergers in the 1990's as Webster Bank purchased the bank and eventually closed the facility in Derby.

One of the ironies of the banks location is that down through the years, it occupied property on the corner of all four of the "Women of Derby" streets. Derby Savings Bank was a true community bank fully involved in the life of the community.

Correct answers were received from: Henry Wajdowicz, Mayor Marc Garofalo, Millie from Ansonia, Rick Dunne, Edward Baclawski, Amy Cobaugh, Bernie Williamson, Mary Lou Boroski, Cyndi Poppa, Theodore Hawks III, Donald Nelson, Frank Lazowki Sr., Jim & Linda Mascolo, Normand Audet, Sara Van Allen, Joan Driscoll, David Lenart, Eric Lazowski, and Kathi Ducharme.

To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.