First Bank of the United States

Address: 120 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Neighborhood: Center City


Contact: 215-965-2305

Description: The proposal to charter this institution provoked the first great debate over a strict versus expansive interpretation of the Constitution. Congress and President Washington, following Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton’s argument for an assumption of implied powers, chartered the bank and helped to ensure the new nation’s survival and continuing growth. Samuel Blodgett designed the impressive headquarters, likely the first example of the use of marble on the facade of a major building in the country. The First Bank was built in 1794–1797 and is now a unit of Independence National Historical Park.

Resources for Researchers

Information for Visitors


  • First in the nation– Philadelphia’s “firsts”
  • Changemakers – social reform, racial justice, political movements
  • Architecture and design – iconic, famous, or representative
  • Business of life – stories of daily life, business, industry, commerce

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