Millville Bank

Municipality: Millville
Category: Bank

Established in 1795, the village of Millville had begun just as its name implies, as a series of mills powered by the waters of the old Union Mill Pond formed from damming the Maurice River. Millville slowly grew with the establishment of glass factories and a failed effort in 1837 to make Millville the county seat of government. But between 1850 and 1860 Millville’s population nearly tripled to 3,500 residents. Under this rapid growth several local citizens decided to establish the Millville Bank, incorporated in 1857.

Millville Bank was incorporated at the same time that the Smith and Wood Iron Foundry and New Jersey Mills were constructed in Millville, offsetting the impact of the national recession occurring at that time. In addition, three of Millville Bank’s founders, Edward Tatum, Ferdinand F. Sharp and Lewis Mulford, were executives in the glass industry, which was in the midst of massive profitability and warranted a bank within Millville.

The Millville Bank was built in a neoclassical style. As with many banks from this era, it was designed to convey strength, stability and security to would-be depositors. It is a large, free-standing structure of brick – all attributes meant to convey security and strength.

In 1863 the National Bank Act established a supervised national banking system and uniform national currency. One aspect of the act required banks to purchase U.S. government securities which assisted the federal government finance the Civil War. The Millville Bank received a federal charter in 1865 under the act, becoming known at that time as the Millville National Bank.

In 1883, the Millville National Bank building was refurbished with a redesigned interior and a small addition to the east. Business flourished for the Millville National Bank and by 1900 the bank had outgrown its historic building. A new bank was built on the corner of High and Main Street (now the Cumberland County Improvement Authority), and the historic bank building was sold in 1908 to the Millville Library and Reading Room Association. The building was used as a library until 1963 when it became offices for county and city health services. Now owned by the City of Millville, the Millville Bank is the headquarters of the Millville Historical Society. The building was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1976 and the National Register in 1980.