January 10, 1912, New-York Daily Tribune, "Big Tenants Quickly Move To New Quarters,"
Equitable, Through President Day, Finds Temporary Offices for Use by 9 o'Clock.
BUT VAULTS HOLD MILLIONS
Clearing House, Too Close to Fire for Comfort, Moves Out for Two Days---By Noon Belmont Sign Looks Old.
Headed by the Equitable Life Assurance Society itself, the group of bankers, vault companies and other big tenants of the Equitable building began to set themselves up in new establishments yesterday almost before the flames were under control in the structure at No. 120 Broadway.
William A. Day, president of the Equitable, took personal charge of the moving arrangements for the insurance company, and by 9 o'clock yesterday morning had rented the second, third and fourth floors of the City Investing Building, No. 165 Broadway, as headquarters for the executive, cashier's and metropolitan agencies departments all of which had been housed in the home office building.
August Belmont & Co. were established on the main floor of No. 111 Broadway at an equally early hour, and by mid-afternoon the glass doors at the back of the hall in that building bore the title "August Belmont & Co." in gold lettering that hadn't even an appearance of newness.
Probably, no day in the history of New York's financial district witnesses such hurried transfers and movings of so many concerns representing such a large amount of money, and though every one of these firms took up business in its new quarters practically without losing a minute of the business day, none of them was able to get at the securities and books which represented its importance in the financial world.
These securities and books remained behind, locked in the vaults of the various concerns which had their quarters in the old Equitable, and no one of the owners of the millions of dollars worth of securities thus left in the ruins of a burned block seemed to be at all worried yesterday as to the safety of the property.
Clearing House Shifts Quarters.
The New York Clearing House Association, though not in the burned building, found that its quarters on Cedar Street across the street from the north side of the Equitable, were useless for the day at least, and moved up to the Chamber of Commerce rooms, on Liberty Street. They will remain there today and will go back to their own building tomorrow.
William A. Read & Co., bankers, whose offices were formerly directly under those of August Belmont & Co. in the northwest corner of the Equitable block, went to No. 115 Broadway, moving into the former suite of the Carnegie Trust Company.
The Mercantile Trust Company went to No. 7 Wall Street, and the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, though not establishing permanent quarters anywhere yesterday, did business through its officers in the offices taken by the Equitable Trust Company in the old Carnegie Trust quarters.
A great part of the work of the Equitable Life has been carried on for more than a year past in the Hazen Building, at No. 2 Albany Street, and it was at that building that the officers of the Equitable got together to lay plans until the new quarters for the company's executives had been arrainged for at No. 165 Broadway.
Kountze Brothers & Co. moved to No. 115 Broadway, and the American Exchange National Bank, which like the Clearing House, though not in the Equitable block, found its Cedar Street quarters too close to the fire for comfort, moved to No. 66 Broadway.
Perhaps the busiest feature of this colossal moving day in the financial district was the reassignment of telephone wires to fit the raapid shifts of bankers and other tenants of the old Equitable. In all 534 telephones were reassigned, according to the figures of the telephone company, and to the company added the announcementr that any one who wishes to get in touch with any one who had been in the Equitable Building could do so by calling up the number as printed in the directory. All the reassignments were made with the same numbers the Equitable tenants had before the fire, so that, for the present at least, whatever district the tenants moved into they still keep their old exchange and number.