Riggs Bank has been a prominent financial and philanthropic presence in the Washington area since its inception in 1836. Loans provided by the bank played a major role in the construction of local landmarks and civic projects.
The bank’s growing prosperity in the 19th century, and its affiliation with many of the city’s politicians, also enabled the funding of many national initiatives. Riggs Bank loans have financed the Mexican-American War in 1847 and the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1868.
Raising the Capitol Dome Riggs Bank funded numerous initiatives of national importance, including financing the Mexican War, the purchase of Alaska, and Robert Peary’s first expidition to the North Pole. Both national and local in significance, the expansion of the Capitol Building in the 1860s depended upon Riggs Bank’s financial support.
Changing the Face of DC The growth of the nation’s capital was paralleled by the construction of Riggs’ many D.C. area branch offices.
The Washington Aqueduct One of the first major aqueduct projects in the United States, the Washington Aqueduct was commissioned by Congress in 1852. Construction, funded through a Riggs Bank account, began in 1853 under the supervision of Montgomery C. Meigs and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Aqueduct went online in January 1859, has been in continuous use ever since, and is a designated National Historic Landmark.