Kidder, Peabody & Co., Bank Building

Sewall Place (113 Devonshire Street)
Boston, Mass.

Year Built: 1881
Year Demolished: ?

Built in 1881 and demolished sometime thereafter. No picture is known to exist of this building.

According to an article in the Boston Evening Transcrtpt:

“The new building la in the rear of the Rialto Building on Devonshire Street, and the public entrance at No. 113 of that street. The structure has been built in the most thorough manner; the foundations are substantial, the walls, which are brick, are twenty inches thick and furred with fireproof blocks, and all partitions throughout the building are of fireproof blocks, supported iron beams. In one corner of the basement is vault, 25x25 feet, the walls of which are built of brick and steel, and vary in thickness from two to four feet. The ceiling is supported by five brick piers. Adjoining the vault is the boiler room, from which the steam for heating the building is generated. The floors of the corridors in the basement are of concrete and asphalt, upon which tiles are laid. At one side of the corridor is a lavatory for the use the clerks, and opposite this is a coat room containing a large number of closets one for each clerk.

Opening from the corridor is a parlor, 20x11 feet, which may be used by the members of the firm for discussions among themselves with their customers. It is finished in mahogany, having a dado and an open fireplace with handsomely-carved woodwork. On the other side the corridor is a private lunch room, 21x18 feet, in which lunch is served every day, thus making it unnecessary for the clerks to leave the building during business hours. This room has a mahogany dado, a fireplace with woodwork of the same material, and a large and very handsome mahogany sideboard. Connected with it is a serving room, furnished with steam table, refrigerator, etc. The staircase leading to the main floor is of iron, with rubber steps-all the staircases in the building being of the same materials.

The banking-rooms are on the ground floor, occupying a apace 64x37 feet, with a projection 23x13 feet, and are twenty-six feet high. Leading from the entrance is a wide corridor, which runs across the end of the room, and from this extend two counters for the transaction of business; the corridor and the space between the counters are lined with tiles, and opposite the open space is wide fireplace of Tennessee marble, the carved woodwork above it extending to the gallery and forming a striking feature in the design of the room. At the end of the corridor is a parlor, 15x8 feet, for the accommodation of lady customers. At the further end of the counters are two desks for the use of the head clerks, and back of the counters are desks for the other clerks, each one being arranged with drawers and pigeon boles specially designed for the work to be done there. All the desks are made of mahogany, the wood used exclusively in the finishing of the room. At the rear of the room is a platform, raised about a foot above the main floor; upon this are six desks for the use of the partners, and at the rear -of the platform, and separated from it by windows set with cathedral glass, is a parlor for the use of the firm. At this end of the room is a private entrance leading from Sewall Place for the use of those connected with the office.

At the front end of one counter is the Cashiers Department, enclosed by iron network, and at the end of the opposite counter is the bond safe, which is directly above the vault in the basement and has all the latest improvements for protection. The offices are well lighted by means of numerous windows and by a glass ceiling 52x12 feet. The ceiling is supported by eight columns, which also give support to the gallery, eight feet wide, which runs around the room. The gallery also covers the projection and this gives a large open space which will be convenient for customers who desire to discuss business matters. This gallery is reached by a staircase leading from the corridor near the entrance, and at the other end of the room is a private staircase for the use of the clerks. In the gallery are desks for the copyists, telegraph operator and some other clerks, and live dumb waiters will be used for the transmission of books and papers.

On the main floor is a desk directly connected by telephone with the stock board, so that orders can immediately transmitted to the representative of the firm at that place. A speaking tube runs from every desk in the office and from every room in the building to a desk in the gallery, and the clerk there, by connecting different pipes by means of a flexible tube, will enable any person in the building to communicate with any of thar others without leaving his desk. Each member of the firm also has at his desk fifteen wires connected with call bells on the desks of the principal clerks. At the left side of every desk is a gas burner. Electric wires have been laid, connecting with every gas burner in the building; at present they will be used for lighting the gas, but when the system of lighting by electricity has been sufficiently improved, gas will be dispensed with and the entire building lighted by electricity.

The building is heated by a system of indirect radiation. The steam pipes and radiators are concealed in flues and recesses in the brick walls, and these radiators are supplied with pure air coming directly from outside the building. Much attention has been given to the system of ventilation, them being thirty -two separate ventilating flues, each one extending to the roof. The panels of the celling are colored Naples yellow, the cornices are shaded brown with a red band, the lower side of the beams peacock blue with a border of Pompeian rad, the walls are stone yellow, the pillars and all other iron work Tuscan rad. The underside of the gallery is paneled with mahogany, and the gallery cornice, which is also of mahogany, is elaborately carved.

A marked peculiarity in the plan of the building is the arrangement of the upper story, which is designed for the accommodation of such of the clerks as desire to occupy rooms in the building. Eight sleeping rooms, 12x12 feet, have been conveniently fitted, each having a roomy closet, steam heat and ventilating flue; and there are also lavatories and a parlor, 22x16 feet, handsomely finished in cherry, for the general use of those who room there. The janitor room Is also in this story, and in the floor of his room are two openings, which command a view of the bond vault, directly beneath it. This story is -reached by a staircase leading from the banking rooms, and another staircase, protected by double fireproof doors, leads from the Devonshire Street entrance.

An hydraulic elevator runs from the basement to the upper story, and has an automatic attachment for opening, shutting and locking this room on each floor. The building was designed by Messrs. Sturgis & Brigham, who have also had charge of its construction, the work being done under the immediate supervision of Mr. Lewis H. Bacon. The mason work was done by T.J. Whidden & Son, the carpenter and cabinet work by B. D. Whitcomb, the plastering by John F. Mack & Son, the iron work by the G.W. & F. Smith Iron Company, the painting and decorating by Thomas H. Burgess, the tiles for fireplaces ana floor are from the Household Art Rooms, the carving was done by Evans & Tombs, the plumbing by William Lamb St Co., heating apparatus was furnished by Ingalls & Kendricken, the gas fixtures were made by Bliss & Perkins after special designs, the electrics bells and speaking tubes were supplied by Seth W. Fuller, the electrical wire by the Edison Electric illuminating Company, and the elevator by the Whittier Machine Company.”


• Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper, Vol. 1, G.W. Bromley & Co., 1883, Plate G (Oliver W. Peabody).

• John Hubbard Sturgis papers, Boston Athenaeum Library, client list, 8/1/1886, H. Kidder noted as a client of Charles Brigham.

• Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Back Bay, G.W. Bromley & Co., Plate 010, 1917 (Kidder, Peabody & Co., Frank E. Peabody).

• "A Half Century of Boston’s Building, Charles S. Damrell, 1895, p. 54 ("Banking-house, property of Kidder, Peabody & co., located on Sewall Place, in the rear of 113 Devonshire Street, was built in 1881-3, at a cost of $103,000. Sturgis & Brigham, architects; Thomas J. Whidden, mason; D.B. Whitcomb, carpenter."

• Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Back Bay, G.W. Bromley & Co., Plate 010, 1908 (Frank E. Peabody and William Endicott, Jr, Trustees). An addition to the building adjacent to 119 Devonshire seems to have since the 1888 map was published. This would have been the rear portion of the building and not likely to have affected the overall design.

• Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper, Vol. 1, G.W. Bromley & Co., 1888, Plate 022 (Oliver W. Peabody).

• Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Back Bay, G.W. Bromley & Co., Plate 010, 1912 (Frank E. Peabody and William Endicott, Jr, Trustees). The building changes somewhat, as it seems to have merged with the building in front of it at 119 Devonshire. It is unclear whether the Sewall Place/ 113 Devonshire Street building was demolished at this time or simply altered. The shape and proportions of the original building appear to remain.

• Boston Evening Transcript, 21 March 1882

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