Francis Hall.

The Century, Volume 11 online

. (page 83 of 163)
Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 83 of 163)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Over all is a simple flat roof. Closets
may be placed under the stairs in the front
room and against the walls of the other
rooms. For a man and wife of moderate
means, every convenience is supplied with
one spare room. The house smadl, indeed,
but it is good and cheap. Its rent is low,
and its price is within the reach of even the
laboring man. Its cost will vary from less
than $1,000 up to $2,500, according to loca-
tion. The rent will range firom $8 to
$aj per month, with taxes, water rates,
gas, insurance, etc., be it more or less, accord-
mg to the agreement with the landlord.
Rent is xzxAy paid. There is a better way
than that, and the great majority of people
who occupy these and similar houses own
their homes, or have it in prospect

Plan A shows a house, 16x31 feet, in-
closed by brick party walls, and having a
rear wall of hard brick, and the front wall
of pressed brick. There is a cellar under
all, and a shed for the rear. The stories are
each nine feet clear, with stone sills, and
heads to the front windows and doors. As
the design indicates, the house fronts on
the street line. The cost will vary fit)m
$1,300 to $1,500.

Plan B shows another style, 12x29, and
set back 25 feet from the street line. This
leaves a small garden in fit)nt Such houses
are built in pairs, with an 8-feet walk between
each pair. The second story of such houses
and the posts are the same as in Plan A.
Houses built in this way are designed to
make the rear building of a possible house,
•built in the garden at some ftiture time.
Plan C shows the extension in front as the
family increase in size and wealth. The
elevations over plans B and C show different
treatments of the same house. The two-
story house costs from $1,000 to $1,300;
and the three-story extension, from $1,800
to $2,200. It must here be noticed that
these houses are far more attractive than
Philadelphia houses generally, and are the
work of an architect of reputation.*

Philadelphia is in every sense a city of
homes for the people. Her people own
their houses ; the landlord no longer takes
the bulk of the people's money; every
man is his own landlord, and pays rent to
himself. Small wonder is it that her people
are steady, thrifty, forehanded, and domestic
in their habits. Real estate rises continually ;
the taxable property grows quickly; the
stream of waste that flows to the dram-shops
is checked ; the homely virtues flourish, and
marriages increase in nimiber. The young
man knows he can quickly and easily pro-
cure a home, and the young woman is more
than ready to aid him if so good a house
can be placed at her disposd for so little
money. She can even buy and own the
house herself independendy of her husband,
and both can combine to erect and own
their own roof-tree, that shall also be their
children's home, and the assured shelter for
their declining years. No dreadful board-
ing-house stares them in the face, and with
reasonaUe care and industry they can put
away the fear of the poor-house or the
asylum forever.

Next, it may be in order to consider how

♦ Davis G. Supplec, Architect, 208 South Fourth
Street, Philadelphia, — to whom we are indebted for
the plans given with this article.

Digitized by




Philadelphia paid for her hundred thousand
homes. Here is a slip or two from the
advertising columns of some of the local

— ^Youog Man and Woman, stop and reflect! The
money vou. fritter away uadessly wfll make you independent
To-day nni the nagna charter of your independence, and. like
our foreiatbers, in about eight years you will, in a gnat degree,
be independent by saving only thirty-three cents each day. In
that time you will realize $s,ooo, or have a home and be iode-
pendent of the bndlord. Let tWs, indeed, be your day of inde-
pendence, by subscribing for shares in the new series, now istoed,
ni the State Mutual Saving Fund, Loan and Building Assodatjoo.
One dollar per share each month. For shares or information,
come to the meeting on Wednesday Evening, July 7, at j%
o'clock, at the Pennsylvania Hall, EiKhth sM(dL below Green.
The auditors' and directors' reports will be distributed.

w:^ Payment forthwith Demanded. What misery this
nodoe often causes you and family. Begin now to cancel it by
easy monthly payments, by borrowing the money from the
Come to the Meeting on MONDAY EVENING, Sept 6th.
at 7)4 o'clock, at the Pennsylvania Hall, Eighth street, below
Green. $4,000 kwned at 834 o*ck>ck, on first or second moct-
gage or over ground rent Borrowers supplied with shares at

jr^sa $3,000. -THE TIME TO BUY YOUR HOME,
w:W pay oflT a first or second mottsage while premiums are
low and money plenty, lite Republic Building and Loan
Association will meet Thu (Monday) Evening, Sept. 13, at 7^
o'clock, at the Pennsylvania Hall, Eighth street, below Green.
Money loaned on fint or second mortgages or over ground
rents. All who want money, come and Kce what easy terms
you can get it on. Shares furnished at par to non-stock-
holders who wish to borrow after successfully bidding for the

wST BttiUing and Loan Association will meet 00 MDND A Y
EVENING, August 0U1, at Jones' Hall, Eighth street, above
Green. Persons wishing loans on first or seccmd mortsage
are invited to attend and bid for the money Shares wiU be
supplied in the Second Series. Premiums moderate. No
bonus or commissions diarged.


Hfic How pleasant to fed secure in the ownership of
a home, clear of all mcumbrance. Come to the meedng of the
State Mutual BuiUfing Asaodatioo, THIS (WEDN&DAY)
EVENING, Sept x, at 80'ckxJc, at the Pennsylvania Hall.
Eighth street below Ureen, and borrow the money to buy your
pay off your fint or second mortsage. Shares fomMhed
owets after successfully bidding for the

to borrowets

: money.

Viewed as mere advertisements, they cer-
tainly dbplay a refreshing originality. Here
is wealth shouting itself hoarse in the efifort
to get itself loan(^d. When it is known that
six hundred banking concerns in Philadel-
phia crowd the papers with their monthly
announcements, it is easy to see that an
effort must be made to win attention. Money
in abundance, cheap and free to all able and
willing to give decently good security for it I
It is with this money the Philadelphia young
man builds his bnde a house. With the
funds of these associations, poured out at
the rate of half a million of dollars a month,
Philadelphia has made herself what she is.
This is her building capital, with a total
yearly value of from seven to ten million
dollars. This is the seed from which sprang
up her hundred thousand roof-trees.

These associations are called building and
loan associations. The name is mislwiding
in one respect. They are not building asso-
ciations in any sense. They are banks with-
out vaults, moneyed concerns without expen-
sive buildings or highly paid officers ; and no
stockholders, aside from depositors, stand
ever ready to devour the lion's share of the
profits. There is no great fund of money
to tempt the thieving president or his
brothers, the burglars. A two hundred
dollar safe will hold the companies' assets
and books, and a slender bank account
represents the available capital.

Let us attend one of these meetings
— held in a plain, two-story brick house,
and over a small fruit store on one of the
plainest of these plain streets. Ascending
a narrow stairway from an obscure court, we
come to a small, bare hall, perhaps 20x40,
provided with plain settees and a desk or
two. Here we can sit and view the
performance. There is nothing to suggest
the bank, and all the fixtures are of the
cheapest and most simple character.. Over
one of the desks is a faded card announc-
ing " Money to Loan." About the desk
are, perhaps, half a dozen middle-aged men.
In no wise remarkable, they seem just what
they are — ^plain, matter-of-fact men of fem-
ily and well-known positioiL One a mason,
another a solicitor, another a retired mer-
chant, another a ph3rsician, another a book-
keeper, the others something equally honest,
steady, and well-to-do. These are the
honorable officers and directors of the build-
ing association that meets in this hall to-
night. They were elected by the share-
holders of tiie association and make its
responsible head. The secretary enjoys a sal-
ary of from two to six hundred dollars a year.
The president, treasurer, and other officers
work for nothing a day. The honor of the
position is their only reward, except their
car-fares if they travel for the association.
Though they receive nothing for their work,
it is far fiwm li^ or simple. They must
overlook the affiius of the association, attend
its stated meetings, examine the security
oflfered for loans, and attend to the business
generally. Occasionally they must give
half a day to the inspection of the property
loaned upon, and once in a while there is
an evening meeting of the government at
some private house.

The time has come for business, and the
stockholders or lenders begin to appear.
In long procession they come up the narrow
stairs and, forming a line, take their turn at

Digitized by




the secretary's desk. A clerk in very spruce
clothes, behind him a shop-girl, pallid with
toil, then an elderly man bronzed by a life
out of doors. Behind these, two or three
children with their hands filled with their
littie hoard of currency, the result of their
month's small savings. Then more girls
and women, evidently people who live
laborious days. Others follow who never
did a thing in their lives. Then a telegraph
boy, alert and bright-eyed ; then more men,
retired merchants and small traders, store-
keepers, watchmen, people of means and
day laborers. Rich and poor, high and
low,- the hard worker and the idler living on
the profits of his shares. Each and all
come to pay their one dollar on their several
shares. At the desk an old gentleman in
glasses examines the money deposited, signs
the litde pass-books, gives one to the treas-
urer and the other to the assistant-account-
ant. Each book is examined twice and
each dollar counted twice, and then the
depositor moves on to make room for the
next. The pile of bills on the treasurer's
table grows quickly. The stream of capital
flows m by ones, twos, fives and tens, and
in a short time the account runs up to a
thousand dollars.

The majority of the depositors, or lenders,
as they are more properly called, having
paid their monthly dues, retire to their
homes, content to leave the directors to
manage the business meeting of the asso-
ciation that is to follow later in the evening.
They repose entire confidence in the direc-
tion, and, unless they wish to take out or
borrow some of the money, return home
without delay. The association is, to them,
a superior kmd of savings bank, and they
trust it far more implicitly than do the
depositors in the average savings institution
in New York. More than this, they know
that no burglar can rob this bank, no thiev-
ing president enrich himself with pious
irregularities ; they are sure no foolish bills
of extravagance for gilded ceilings, silver-
plated counters and damask hangings, will
be incurred to gratify the vanity of officers
who never pay a cent of the cost. There
is no brown-stone palace, no steel vault, no
outrageous rent-— only this bare litde hall
at two dollars a night, a trifling account at
a city bank, and one absurd little salary to
be paid ; but the best of security for every
dollar in good land and well-insured houses.

More people come in, and some take seats
at once without joining the line of the
depositors. There is quite a sprinkling of

women, and among the men are repvescM-
atives from every station in Ufe. At ha]f*past
eight the president of the association calls
the meeting to order. The hall is now well
filled with a quiet and rather sober crowd.
These are the borrowers. Some are mem-
bers of the association, and others are entire
strangers, attracted hither by the winmog
adv^isement of money to loan. All the
money collected this evening, together with
all received from every source during the
last month, is now to be ofiered fredy to Ae
highest bidder, be it man or woman.

The president then calls upon the secre-
tary to read the minutes of the last meetiag
and the directors' statement of the past
month's business. The minutes are macff
formal, and the directors' report shows what
was done with the association's funds. The
names of the successful borrowers at the
last meeting are given, with a fuU statement
of the amounts loaned, the premiums thet
paid, the security they offered, and its loca-
tion, character and value. From this state-
ment it appears that all the money recei%'cd
up to the time of the last meeting, excq)ting
$2,000, was loaned out on ample security.
This $2,000 added to the monthly dues and
interest paid in and the loans retmned, etc,
makes a total of $13,000, all of which is
now for sale without reserve.

There is a murmur of pleasure at ths
good financial showing, and the presidrot
announces that the sale will now begin. As
there are some strangers present, the secre-
tary rises and announces the terms of the sale.
Any member can borrow on his share, even
if it is only one month old. Those who
caimot give real estate as security, and irbo
have only just joined the association, or wbu
wish to join, must bring a bond signed br
some responsible person, that he or she will
pay the dues for at l^ast three years. This
bond is only for the dues, and not for tbc
loan. Any member who has been in the
association more than six months can bor
row up to the withdrawing value of Ws
share, without real estate security. All mem-
bers who can give real estate security can
borrow up to $200 (the ultimate value) on
every share they own, but no one can bid
for more than ten shares at once. If be
wishes more than $2,000 he must bid agiiit
The premiums offered for loans will be
deducted from the loan, and in casr the
security offered is not acceptable the kno
will be refused, and the borrower will be
obliged to pay the month's interest on the
money at six per cent. This is to pre^tnt

Digitized by




illnooDsidered loans, and to protect the asso-
ciation from loss.

Immediately the bidding begins. The
president, a prosperous contractor, asks
for a bid on from one to tei^ shares, or

the proceedings carefully, and presently the
money is knocked down at 32)^ per cent.
Lots of from one to five shares, or $1,000, are
then offered. The bidding becomes sharper,
as the smaller sum is more in demand.

> QKtCDfM.-





.from $200 to $2,000. Some one offers
twenty per cent At once some one bids
twenty-one. Twenty-two is offered, and,
just as at any auction, the bidding advances,
reaching thirty per cent. The demand is
active. The officers and directors watch

Finally, bids of only a few hundred dollars are
made, and in less than thirty minutes the
entire sum of $13,000 and several hundred
dollars more are sold. This extra money is the
premiums that are offered. They are likewise
sold, and earn premiums on themselves.

Digitized by ^^OOQIC



Those who are not members gather round
the treasurer's desk to buy the shares that
entitle them to the loans, and to give the
locality where the houses and land they
offer for security may be found. In a short
time the whole affair is arranged and the
meeting adjourns. The money received
from the lenders is given to the treasurer,
and he takes it home. To-morrow it will
be placed with the rest of the capital in
some bank, there to remain until drawn out
by checks to supply the borrowers whose
bids are finally accepted by the directors.
In a few days one or more of the directors
will be detailed to examine the securities
offered. If they prove good, the directors
in regular meeting assembled at some
private house, or elsewhere, will make the
loans. The solicitor will then be directed to
examine the titles. The securities not deemed
good wiU be rejected and the loans will be
refused. In that case the borrower must offer
other security or pay one month's interest on
his bid, and then he has leave to withdraw.
A month hence these things will be fully
reported, and the money lefl over on refused
loans will be offered again in open auction.

To such simplicity is this system of co-
operative banking reduced. In this easy
and inexpensive manner is this business
conducted. Lenders and depositors on one
side, borrowers for every known purpose on
the other, the poor lending to the rich, the
rich both borrowing and lending. They
call such an association as this a building
and loaning association. In reality, it is, as
we have seen, only a saving and loaning
bank. The association itself does not build,
nor does it ask what its members propose to
do with the mcMiey they take. It may be
for a house or to buy land. It may be
capital to start some manufacture, to open
a store, buy a piano or sewing-machme,
fumittu'e, or wedding outfit, or to obtain an
education. If the security is good, that is
all the association cares to know. Such is
the personal aspect of this matter. These
are the people who made and use these
associations. The homes that line Phila-
delphia's streets represent the tangible result,
the outcome of this system of finance.

Suppose a number of people in a cer-
tain place wish to start such an association.
Some desire to furnish a safe and profitable
means of saving the earnings of those about
them. Others wish to see the town built
up, taxable property increase, and real estate
raised in value, or they wish to buy or build
'^e. There is no capital in the town

except in the hands of one or two hard-
fisted fellows, to deal with whom is always a
trial and a grind. There is a good deal of
money in trifling sums scattered through the
place. If collected in one fund it might be
of great beijefit in many ways. These p>eople
meet at some private house and become the
promoters of the enterprise. The afi^ur is
duly talked over and the result is that some
twenty or more subscribe, say, twenty-five
dollars each, or one advances the money to
the new association and a fund is thus cre-
ated. This little capital is to aid in procuring
a charter, to get the necessary account-books
and to advertise the new association. A
charter is procured and a name selected
and the first meeting is announced. Thus
far the association has no existence and no
capital. The fund subscribed was only the
"starting bar" which sets the train in morion.

The public attends the meeting pardy out
of curiosity, partly to see who is likely to be
placed at . the head -of the new bank, and
partly by an unexpressed but very eager
desire to get the use of the new associanon*s
money. The meeting is called to order and
the charter of the new society is read. The
number of shares is fixed at 2,500, and of
these a niunber are offered at one dollar
each. Any man or woman can buy one or
as many as they like up to fifty. If the
people have faith in the promoters, they
come forward and buy such as they desire.
Perhaps four hundred shares are taken by
about one hundred different people.

The next step is to organize, and to elect
the ofiicers and directors. Each shareholder
has one ballot (without regard to the number
of shares he holds) and the business is soon
finished. The laws of Pennsylvania permit
each share to have a vote. The best asso-
ciations disregard this and give each share-
holder one vote only. The by-laws are pre-
pared and accepted, and the association
begins its existence. In many cases the orig-
inal promoters are elected to one or more of
the ofilices. If time admits, die officers are
installed that evening, and the books of the
association are opened. The new directors
then hold their first meeting. The pass-books
and certificates of stock are issued, the treas-
lurer presents his bonds, and the salary of the
secretary is fixed at about $200 a year.

Meanwhile, others become interested and
call on the secretarv for shares. Any one
who can pay a doUar a month may pur-
chase a share. Women, whether married or
single, or the former independently of their
husbands, may take as many shares as they

Digitized by




feel they are able to carry. Parents and
guardians may invest for their charges. It
is a savings bank, free to all. A month passes
and the next meeting is held at some small
hall. The cheaper the rent of the room, pro-
vided the place is decent and respectable, the
better, for it gives the association a reputation
for economy that gratifies the present mem-
bers and wins new ones. The second install-
ment is now paid in, and more shares are
sold at two dollars each, and the aissociation
declares itself ready to loan money.

Capital has appeared in the town. A
new and most liberal-minded capitalist
stands ready to loan to such as can meet
his easy demands. The meeting is called
to order, and the secretary announces that
the association sold at its first meeting per-
haps four hundred shares, that some three
hundred more were taken during the month,
and that one hundred more have been taken
this evening. He adds that two installments
have been paid on each, and that about
$1400 is now for sale. If the premiums
oflfered are high, a few hundred dollars
more will be added to this amount.

In this simple manner is the business of
the association started. There is no confu-
sion, no extravagant bill of expenses, no
secret meeting of directors, eager and
thoughtfid for their own interests ordy. All
is plain, fair, and above board. Any mem-
ber may examine the books of the bank on
demand, and at the end of each year the
stockholders appoint from among themselves
three auditors, whose duty it is to turn the
affiurs of the association utterly inside out,
and to exhibit its every transaction in the
minutest detail in a printed report, a copy
of which must be given to every shareholder.
Should this report afifirm neglect or irregular
doings of any kind on the part of the officers,
should it point out foolish loans and ill-
considered securities, or anything wrong,
the ^itire direction, president and all, may
be disnissed and better men put in their
places. No one shareholder can gain a rul-
ing interest Shotdd the poorer sharehold-
ers, the holders of single shares, find fault,
or be dissatisfied, they have ample redress,
for they are almost always in the majority.

The stockholders in these building and
loan associations are commonly divided into
two classes, the borrowing ancf the non-
borrowing. This distinction is shadowy, for
any shareholder may become a borrower at
any time. First may be considered the
simple depositor or stockholder who has no
unmediate intention of becoming a borrower.

He buys one share, for which he pays one
dollar. There is no ceremony, no entrance
fee, and no drawback of any kind — ^he simply
pays, and takes the pass-book and certificate
of stock. Once a month the stated pay-day
comes round. He pays his installment, and
gets a receipt in his pass-book from the
secretary. If he owns two shares, he pays
two dollars ; if five, five dollars, and so on.
If he lives at a distance, he may send a
check or money-order. He may anticipate
his payments to any extent, and, if it is for
more than six months, interest will be paid on
the advance. Presently he misses the pay-
day, and then comes a small fine for the
neglect. If he neglects another payment,
the fine is gready increased. This spurs
him up to greater economy, and he begins
to be careful and thoughtful of his money
afi^irs. In this way the association becomes
an instructor, pointing the way along the
safe and prosy old road to fortune.

The year passes, and then he receives the
association's annual report. Therein he finds
that one share is declared to have a value
of- $17.97. He paid $12 in, and his
share of the pr6fits amounted to $5.97. His
share is not actually worth $17.97, for that
simi cannot be realized on it. If he wants

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 83 of 163)