It was the one bank whose name showed its connection to the Youngstown area. Its main offices graced the southwest part of Central Square, designed by one of the distinguished architects of the day. A fiscally sound institution, it operated 132 years until it merged with another bank. It was my mother-in-law’s bank, and at the end of her life, we had professional and efficient dealings with them as we helped her manage her finances. The tellers at her branch were like family to her and a number had worked there for years. That was the Mahoning National Bank many of us knew.
The Mahoning National Bank was established in 1868 as the Youngstown Savings and Loan Association. The founding directors were a veritable who’s who of business leaders in Youngstown: David Tod, Chauncey Andrews, W. J. Hitchcock, F.O. Arms, T. K. Hall, Joseph G. Butler, Jr., T. H. Wells, John Stambaugh, David Theobald, Richard Brown, A. B. Cornell, B. F. Hoffman, and William Powers formed the board of directors. David Tod was elected president but died two months later to be succeeded by F. O. Arms.
They first operated on the northwest part of Central Square until moving to the southwest part in 1873 in a building connected with Andrews and Hitchcock. In 1877, the association adopted a national bank charter under the name Mahoning National Bank. Then in 1909, the bank bought out the Andrews & Hitchcock interest in the property and razed the old structure to erect a modern high rise building.
The building was designed by Alfred Kahn, known at the time as one America’s foremost industrial architects. He also designed the Stambaugh Building and North Side Hospital. He designed a number of industrial facilities in Detroit including Ford’s Highland Park plant where the Model T was assembled. The building was completed in 1910. You will note that the building above is only part of the present day complex. A four story addition was added on the site of the old Opera House, and the building was extended southward by 72 feet. This video, produced by Metro Monthly shows the stately lobby of the bank as well as giving information about its architect:
The bank grew with Youngstown, opening branches as the city expanded and people moved into the surrounding suburban community. In 1924 the bank had assets of $6.3 million. By 2000, its assets had grown to 818 million and it had twenty-one offices.
The end of the twentieth century was marked by numerous bank mergers. In June of 1999, it merged with Sky Bank, part of Sky Financial Services, an upstart company formed in 1998 in northwest Ohio that grew rapidly through mergers. At the end of 2001, it changed its name to Sky Bank. Then in 2007, Sky Bank was acquired by Huntington Bank, based in Columbus.
Huntington Bank had offices in the old Mahoning National Bank building but has moved to smaller offices in the Stambaugh building. In December 2022, The Business Journal reported the sale of the building for $2.3 million to a New York based investment group operating under the name 22 Market Street Ohio LLC. The company intends to use the bottom four stories for office space and convert the upper nine floors to residential units, preserving the historic character of the building.
It sounds wonderful if it unfolds as promoted. There do seem to be the beginnings of a downtown renaissance. But I wonder if the Youngstown economy can yet sustain it and whether there is sufficient “draw” to live downtown. I, for one, would love to see historic buildings like this and the Stambaugh buildings (both Kahn designed) preserved and used well.
To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!