The Center for AntiSlavery Studies


Building Big
The Silver Lake Bank building today:
currently the headquarters of CASS


Built in 1816 as the first bank in Susquehanna County (and now the oldest existing building in Montrose), the Silver Lake Bank was so named by its builder, Dr. Robert H. Rose, philanthropist and owner of 100,000 acres in the Silver Lake area. Putnam Caitlin, father of the famous painter of North American Indian tribes (George Caitlin), clerked at the bank.

When the bank closed in 1829, it briefly became the manse for the Presbyterian Church. For the decade of the 1830's, a Mrs. Cox ran a boarding house for young ladies probably attending the Susquehanna Academy. In 1840 Frances Blake Chandler, a Montrose merchant and a member of the Abolitionist Society, purchased the property, maintaining ownership for 40 years. 25 of those years (1840-1865) were some of the most active regarding Underground Railroad activity in the area. Was it a stop on the Underground Railroad? Local rumor claims so and Mr. Chandler's ownership during a crucial era may substantiate the legend; however, there is no official proof at present.


In the spring of 2000 a small group of CASS friends and members financed the down payment on the Silver Lake Bank with some of the same pledging monthly support to cover the bank note until such time as other sources of funding could be found. Current status includes:

  • • Seeking funding sources for acquisition and restoration of the historic structure
    • Seeking museum status and creating museum policies

  • Hosting a variety of fund-raising activities including: community meetings, continuing education classes, multi-cultural studies, luncheons, teas, receptions, tours, exhibitions, displays, shows, performances and more.

  • Building Old       Building Front


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