The History of the Hyperion Bank Building
Hyperion Bank first welcomed customers on November 20, 2006, after extensively renovating our landmark location. The historic restoration of the building that now houses our corporate and branch offices was recognized with a Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia in 2007.
The Hyperion Bank Building— built 1871
When Hyperion Bank was preparing to open a new community bank, we searched for a location that would be a symbol of our commitment to community building. We found it in a historic structure that was built for a bank in the heart of Philadelphia’s growing Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and Kensington neighborhoods.
Situated at the corner of N. 2nd Street and Girard Avenue, this early bank building was erected during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, when industrial investment in Philadelphia was rising. Five years after incorporating in 1864, the Eighth National Bank commissioned architect Thomas S. Levy, who designed an elegant headquarters in the popular Italianate/Second-Empire style. Our building is the only known existing commission attributed to Thomas Levy.
Construction started in 1869. When it was completed in 1871, the beautiful red brick building noted for its framed window pairs, limestone details, and empire roof was only two bays by four bays. As the bank prospered, architect A. Raymond Raff was hired in 1906 to almost double the size of the building by adding one bay on 2nd Street and two bays on Girard Avenue, completed in 1907. A 1912 expansion added two more bays on 2nd Street, growing the building to its present size of approximately 11,000 square feet. But over time, a series of alterations damaged its interior and exterior and compromised the building’s historical integrity. Eventually abandoned, the once-impressive landmark fell into a state of disrepair.
Recognizing the architectural and economic significance of this building, Hyperion Bank embarked on an exacting historic rehabilitation to return the building to its original state. For the exterior, expert renovation contractors restored the original ground floor masonry openings and replicated original pilasters, brackets, copper trim, roof soffits, mahogany doors, window frames and sashes. The red brick façade was cleaned and repaired, and the Mansard roof was replaced with simulated slate shingles.
The interior restoration was equally painstaking, as skilled artisans refurbished the architectural details and ornamental plaster cartouches atop the windows, and dismantled the magnificently arched, stained glass ceiling pane by pane. Carefully numbering, cleaning, and repairing the panes, craftspeople restored the stained glass, sealed the skylights above the arch, and added back-lighting to luminous effect.
Hyperion Bank was honored to receive a 2007 Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for the restoration of our building. We hope that when you visit us or drive by, you will notice this beautiful landmark that first offered banking services in 1871. We are proud to continue this community banking tradition at the corner of 2nd & Girard and serve the greater Philadelphia region.
The Eighth National Bank/Hyperion Bank building, identified as 1201-09 N. 2nd St., was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places on May 9, 2001.