Custom House. Late U.S. Bank


This view looking east shows the Custom House, formerly the Second Bank of the United States, built in 1821–24 after the designs of William Strickland (1788–1854) at 420 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Also visible is the neighboring Bank of Philadelphia, completed in 1837, also after the designs of Strickland, at 400–408 Chestnut Street. Pedestrians traverse the sidewalks in front of the banks and across from the buildings. Couples promenade and greet each other and patrons convene in front of the Bank of Philadelphia. Also seen are two dogs playing in the street and a man exiting the adjacent building, partially visible in the right of the image. The Second Bank of the United States was established in 1816 and served as the national bank of the United States until 1836, when its charter expired. President Andrew Jackson believed that the regulation of banking should be the preserve of the states and refused to renew the charter. The former bank building served as the Philadelphia Custom House from 1844 until 1935. The print was originally published as plate 2 in Views of Philadelphia, and Its Vicinity, published by the firm J.C. Wild & J.B. Chevalier, Lithographers (Philadelphia, 1838). The lithographic stones for the views were acquired by John T. Bowen and reissued in 1838 and in 1848 with hand coloring. John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46) was a Swiss-born artist and lithographer who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced numerous prints and paintings of Philadelphia and other American cities. Bowen was a prominent Philadelphia lithographer and the most important mid 19th-century American publisher of publication plates. He was born in England circa 1801, immigrated to the United States in 1834, and worked as a colorist and lithographer in New York before relocating to Philadelphia. He took over the firm Wild & Chevalier, including the rights to Views of Philadelphia.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

J.T. Bowen, Philadelphia


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph, hand-colored ; 14 x 19 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 776.4


  1. Martin Snyder, "J.C. Wild and His Philadelphia Views," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 87 (January 1953).
  2. Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers, Philadelphia on Stone,

Last updated: February 26, 2014