June 01, 2020
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On 150th anniversary, Gorham Savings Bank celebrates how it all began

Community Author: Philbrook Co.
Post Date:

For community bank, Grand Trunk Railroad Connection goes deeper than bricks and mortar

GORHAM — In April 1868, Gorham Savings Bank opened its doors in Gorham, Maine.

Its first president, the Honorable Toppan Robie, came to the bank with an impressive resume: he was a self-made, bootstrap-funded merchant and family business owner for more than 60 years (he and his brother owned a store, in Gorham, named T. & T. S. Robie).

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Robie was also an 1812 war veteran, a six-time state legislator, a generous benefactor described at the time as “a liberal giver to every good cause,” and “perhaps the leading citizen of his town and surrounding country.”

Fittingly, given Robie’s prominence as a merchant throughout New England, there was even a train bearing his name. In 1867, the Portland and Rochester Railroad connected Portland with the Grand Trunk Railway, and in the process named a new steam engine on the route after him – “The Toppan Robie.”

As the bank celebrates its 150th year in 2018, the legacy of its first president — his entrenched belief in community, commerce and giving back — carries forward.

Gorham Savings continues to be a prolific donor and sponsor of numerous local events and causes, along with various health and wellness initiatives, and many other philanthropic efforts. In total, nearly $400,000 is given to deserving nonprofits each year.

Over the past six years, Gorham Savings Bank has provided more than $200,000 in no-strings-attached grants to Maine small businesses via its LaunchPad small business competition, while its commercial division has continued to be a trusted lender to local businesses who depend on capital to grow.

In 2017, the Bank renovated an old brick building on Portland’s waterfront — anchoring its position on the peninsula and the business community. The second life of the building at One India Street was not only historically significant for the city of Portland, but also for the bank.  For more than 100 years, it was headquarters of the Grand Trunk Railroad — the same line that was launched with a steam engine named after none other than Toppan Robie.

And while the railroad may no longer be the engine of Portland-area commerce that it was at the turn of the century, Gorham Savings Bank remains an engine of growth, committed to helping Maine businesses power forward into the next 150 years.

“As a mutual bank, owned by its depositors, our commitment is to be strategic, proactive, and driven to help our customers succeed in business and in life,” said CEO Chris Emmons. “At Gorham Savings Bank, we’re particularly grateful to look back on our 150th anniversary, and be reminded that community involvement isn’t just where we’re going — it’s also the foundation we were built on.”

About Gorham Savings Bank

Headquartered in Gorham, Maine since its founding in 1868, Gorham Savings Bank is a depositor-owned community bank delivering a full suite of financial services tailored to the needs of Southern Maine’s businesses and consumers. As the only bank headquartered in Cumberland County, GSB serves and supports businesses that value local management, know-how and accountability. The bank offers consumer savings accounts, personal loans, mortgages, HELOCs, CDs, IRAs and financial planning services through its 13 branches and growing network of ATMs, ITMs and mobile services. Gorham Savings Bank is a tireless advocate for the wellbeing of the communities it serves, donating thousands of volunteer hours to dozens of community-based initiatives annually. Gorham Savings Bank is a member of the FDIC. Learn more at gorhamsavings.bank

*Toppan Robie information courtesy of the Gorham Historical Society and Portland Historical Society