Adirondack Trust shares success with city
SARATOGA SPRINGS The Adirondack Trust Co., established in 1902, is more than just a downtown Saratoga Springs landmark.
“My father used to say, ‘A community bank cannot be successful if the town in which it is located in isn’t successful,’ ” said Charles Wait, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the bank. “If a community wants to succeed, the local bank needs to help.”
The white marble building at the corner of Broadway and Church Street is a little younger than the company itself, but the bank has remained on the same property since it opened its doors 111 years ago. Rebuilt in 1916 by the 475 Broadway Realty Co., the Adirondack Trust Co. operated under a lease until it bought the location a few years later.
The marble for the building was quarried at the Danby Quarry in Vermont, the largest underground marble quarry in the world, and it is still in use today. In fact, the bank was able to utilize the same marble during a recent repair of a cracked exterior wall.
The building’s bronze doors, made by Tiffany and Co. in 1916, are still in use and feature a relief scene of the Adirondack mountains.
Wait has been actively working to restore historic locations as a member of the Saratoga Springs Plan of Action committee since 1974. He worked his way onto the bank’s board and took over as president when his father, Newman E. Wait Jr., stepped down in 1984.
Of the more than 150 shareholders, the Wait family has been a primary owner of the bank since Newman E. Wait Sr. became president in 1937.
But even before the Wait family began working for the Adirondack Trust Co., the mission was simple: keep it local.
The bank’s founder, former New York state Sen. Edgar T. Brackett, saw to it that his bank was as successful as it was beneficial to the community, asking his successors to maintain his vision.
For more than 100 years, presidents and board members have worked to balance the bank’s duties as a privately owned local entity.
In an attempt to create year-round jobs in a city struggling as a single-season vacation spot, Brackett persuaded silk manufacturer Joseph H. Clark to build a second Clark Textile Mill in the Saratoga area. The factory eventually became the Van Raalte Knitting Mill, bringing hundreds of much-needed jobs to Saratoga, according to Wait.
There’s a little bit of the Adirondack Trust Co. in many Saratoga businesses, according to Wait. The bank was a crucial financial partner of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Yaddo Estate, and the Saratoga Economic Development Corp., which was responsible for attracting and preparing for GlobalFoundries in Malta.
The bank also supported Skidmore College and the Saratoga Hospital when both faced financial turmoil, recognizing their importance in the community.
Most recently, the bank provided financing for the new Northshire Bookstore on Broadway. The bank’s history of successful investments and the current market in Saratoga has Wait feeling confident.
“It’s absolutely crucial to find investment opportunities that will build a community people want to visit. A bank will only be successful if a town is,” Wait said.