Bank’s Discovery Adds New Chapter To African American History In Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Employees of Dollar Bank, a bank that has been in the community since July 19, 1855, discovered several documents a couple years ago, many of them actual signature ledgers, as well as the original charter and articles of incorporation.
They were stored for many years at Iron Mountain in Evans City, an underground salt mine, before being transferred to Green Tree, where an inspection of the books on pallets provided incredible stories about the bank’s past.
Documents confirming what many at the bank already believed.
“You didn’t have to be a certain race or cultural background. Every person who had money was welcome to be here and use this bank as their savings account,” said Sandra Wise, the vice president of construction.
The actual signature books or ledgers identified people who opened their accounts with the bank by describing their physical features, what they did for a living and what country they came from.
Wise says the books can help more than historians.
“Every person that looks through these signature ledgers could learn just a little bit about where they’re families have come from and how they came here,” she said.
The documents also showed that the founder of the bank, Charles Koltan, actually lived on the same street as the first African-American depositor, Alfred Gibson, on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District.
Dollar Bank is providing access to historians and genealogy groups for research.
Interested groups or individuals should call Dollar Bank Records Management Department at 412-261-5987.