Modernizing The Chicago Federal Reserve

By John Fanning

Newly installed fan walls saves energy and improve comfort

Fueled by the success of the Broadway musical Hamilton, Americans seem keenly more interested in learning about the U.S. Treasury and the nation’s Federal Reserve System, which is central to the economy of the United States. We at the Chief Engineer, coincidentally, are always interested in learning about industrial and commercial facilities, and meeting the men and women who operate and maintain them. So you can imagine the excitement we had in our editorial office when we received an invitation to visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and learn how this facility plays a central role in the nation’s economy, and how a small group of dedicated people keep this critical facility up and operating around the clock.

Alexander Hamilton, as many Americans either know or are learning through the successful theatrical production bearing his name, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Hamilton was an attorney, an artillery captain and later senior aide to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He founded the New York Post newspaper, the Coast Guard, the Federalist Political Party, the Bank of New York and, most notably, became the first Secretary of the Treasury in 1789, serving under the first U.S. president, George Washington.

Left to right Project Manager Matthew Beauregard and Building Operations Manager Matthew Mckee standing in front of a photo showing construction of the original bank in 1922

Hamilton was truly the perfect choice to be the country’s first Treasury Secretary; not only because of his familiarity with the banking business but because he was also a longtime, vocal proponent for the establishment of a privately owned, central bank to serve the economy of the fledgling nation.

Chief Engineer Matthew Roeder

Left to right Bill Rowan and Tito Gotangco assistant chief engineers

In 1791, Hamilton saw his dream for such a bank realized when President Washington signed a 20-year charter for the First Bank of the United States. Headquartered in Philadelphia with branch offices in major cities, the privately owned bank issued bank notes, accepted deposits, purchased securities and made loans. Most importantly however, the nation’s central bank brought order and stability to the economy, fostering faith in the future of American commerce.

When the bank’s charter with the U.S. expired, the government didn’t act to renew it and for about four years, the U.S. was without a central bank until President James Madison signed another 20-year charter that established the Second Bank of the United States, again in Philadelphia. The banks formal name was “The President, Directors, and Company of the Bank of the United States. Twenty percent of the bank’s capital was owned by the federal government, making it the largest single stockholder. About 4,000 private investors owned the remaining 80 percent of the bank. The bank’s charter made it accountable to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Treasury. In its time, the Second Bank of the United States became the wealthiest corporation in the world.

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Posted by on Jun 6th, 2017 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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