So you’re out digging in the yard to install a septic field, but it’s tough going because you’re working through a few truck loads of fill dirt that included some big rocks, when you suddenly uncover an even bigger stone…
And the stone has writing on it that says “HOPEWELL NA” … So what is it?
This is the old engraved stone sign for the Hopewell National Bank, which originally was installed above the door of the bank building at the corner of Broad and Greenwood streets in Hopewell.
You can see the bank sign above the front entrance in the photo from 1955, which also has the classic phone booth on the corner and the large Burglar Alarm signal above.
The close-up of the stone more clearly shows how the lettering was hand-made, with impressively straight lines, smooth curves on the “O”, and especially the subtle curves on the “P”.
The stone is approximately 42 by 15 inches and 8 inches deep, and weighs around 250 pounds (as estimated by the people who carried it).
It is currently on display at the new Sentiment Depot Antiques and Collectibles store at 238 West Delaware Ave. in Pennington (just west of Route 31, diagonally across from the Mercer County Library).
Unfortunately, a further search in the fill dirt did not unearth the other half of the stone – So we can hope that it is still out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered.
The Hopewell National Bank Buildings
The first home of the Hopewell National Bank was at 13 East Broad Street (now the home of the Hopewell Public Library), which the bank constructed and then opened in 1890.
In 1914, the bank constructed this new building on the corner of North Greenwood at 2 East Broad Street. The original building then was used by the Hopewell post office and the telephone company.
The Hopewell National Bank later merged into Princeton Bank in 1956, and moved in 1971 down East Broad to the corner of Maple Street, at 62 East Broad Street, the current PNC bank building. Further mergers followed: into Chemical Bank in 1989, and finally into the current PNC Bank in 1995.
See related post on currency issued by the bank – Hopewell National Bank Dollars
Thanks to the Sentiment Depot team for recognizing, rescuing, and sharing this find.
We welcome other information and materials related to the history of the Hopewell Valley that we can share in this way.