- Little Rock United States Post Office and Courthouse
Little Rock US Post Office and CourthouseOld Post Office and Courthouse, June 2003
Location: 600 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, Arkansas Coordinates: Coordinates: Area: 2.1 acres (0.85 ha) Built: 1881 Architect: Wetmore, James A.,; Simon, Louis, et al. Architectural style: Italian Renaissance Revival Governing body: General Services Administration NRHP Reference#: 99001540 Added to NRHP: December 23, 1999
The Little Rock U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, also known as Old Post Office and Courthouse, in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a historic post office, federal office, and courthouse building located at Little Rock in Pulaski County, Arkansas. It is a courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The Old Post Office and Courthouse was constructed between 1876 and 1881 to accommodate Little Rock's need for various federal services. James B. Hill, supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury Department, designed the building in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The original architectural plans remain in existence, and may be among the oldest surviving plans in Arkansas.
Originally, the first floor contained postal services, while the second floor consisted of office space for federal agencies including the Collector of Internal Revenue. The U.S. District Court occupied the third and fourth floors with spaces for courtrooms, judges, and juries, as well as the U.S. Marshal's office. As Little Rock continued to grow and the need for federal services increased, the building was enlarged several times. Supervising Architect William Martin Aiken designed a 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) addition that was built to the north of the original building in 1897. It housed a larger mail-sorting space and courtroom. In 1908, Supervising Architect James Knox Taylor designed two additional wings, which wrapped around the east and west sides of the building and totaled 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2), to accommodate postal service needs.
Despite the enlargements, both the postal service and the court vacated the building in 1932 for other facilities in Little Rock; however, federal agencies such as the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station continued to occupy it. In 1975, the building was declared surplus federal property, transferred to the Arkansas Commemorative Commission, and renovated for use by the University of Arkansas School of Law. In 1992, the law school vacated the property, and the State of Arkansas returned it to the federal government. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) oversaw a renovation of the building from 1994 to 1997, and rear wings were added. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court and U.S. Marshal Service currently occupy the building.
The building is one of the most notable examples of the Italian Renaissance Revival style in Arkansas. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and was nominated for the 2004-2005 The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) Award in the historical building category by the Building Owners and Managers Association.
The Little Rock Post Office and Courthouse is an example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, a decorative style of the Victorian era. Although the building has several additions, they are compatible with the original portion and the building remains an excellent example of the style. The original four-story building sits atop a Cabin Creek, Arkansas, sandstone foundation. The base is clad in pink Indiana granite and walls are clad in Berea, Ohio, sandstone on the upper stories. Stone on the first level is rusticated, while the stories above are clad in smooth ashlar, an exterior treatment that is common in classically inspired architecture. When GSA completed the 1994-1997 restoration, broken protruding stones and eroded cornices were carefully patched or replaced using stone from the same quarry as the original. Similarly, Virginia slate covering the roof was meticulously repaired or replaced.
A four-story central pavilion dominates the principal facade. It contains windows in tall, round arches on the upper stories. The arches have carved classical motifs, such as crests, urns, and foliated designs, and are separated by simple pilasters (attached columns). The wide overhanging eaves are supported by ornamental brackets, a characteristic of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. Iron cresting surrounds the roof, which also contains elaborately capped tall chimneys. The pavilion is flanked by three-story wings that contain windows with segmental-arch openings on the first level. Pediments, another classical feature, are located on the side elevations. A dentil (rectangular block) course tops these wings. Single-story wings added from 1908 to 1910 are rusticated as is the first level of the original building. A modern steel-and-glass addition is located to the rear of the building. Despite the additions, the building's facade remains symmetrical.
The interior contains many ornate, richly finished spaces. A stunning plaster coffered ceiling tops the 23-foot (7.0 m) space of a courtroom in the original portion of the building. Decorative bands and motifs are distinguished by vivid shades of paint, which were commonly used during the Victorian era when the original portion of the building was constructed. When the ceiling was repainted as part of the 1994 to 1997 restoration, meticulous paint analysis revealed that more than 25 different colors were originally used and these were replicated. The courtroom also features articulated segmental arches over large windows separated by pilasters. Historic wood wainscot surrounds the lower portion of the room. A courtroom in the 1897 portion is clad in pink and gray Tennessee marble. The judge's bench is flanked by marble Ionic columns. Most of the original hardware, including brass window pulls and bronze ventilation grilles, remain.
Columns in the main lobby (formerly the postal lobby) are plaster that has been painted to imitate marble. The columns have cast-iron bases and capitols. Floors are covered in terrazzo with gray Tennessee marble borders. Bronze and brass are prominently used in grilles and door hardware. An open-cage elevator from the 1890s has wrought and cast-iron features that have been restored and painted with historically accurate colors. One of the first elevators in Arkansas, it is not operational due to modern safety requirements. An elaborate iron staircase with a painted iron and mahogany handrail has also been restored. The balustrade features both curvilinear and geometric motifs, and a painted rosette is located on the outside of each step. Newell posts contain the same rosette pattern as well as other colorful foliated motifs.
As part of the 1994 to 1997 renovations, GSA commissioned Jim Sanborn to create a work of art for the plaza sidewalk adjacent to the building. Entitled Ex Nexum, the sculpture consists of a text-inscribed serpentine bronze screen flanked by two tall blocks of granite. The work comments upon the changing history of the law which now allows individuals and corporations to survive financial collapse.
- 1897: First addition constructed
- 1876-1881: Building constructed
- 1908-1910: Second addition constructed
- 1932 : Federal courts and post office vacate building
- 1973 : Building listed in the National Register of Historic Places
- 1978-1992: Building declared surplus federal inventory and used by the University of Arkansas Law School
- 1992: Building returned to the federal inventory
- 1994-1997: Major renovation, including construction of new rear wing
- Location: 300 West 2nd Street
- Architects: James B. Hill; William Martin; Aiken James Knox Taylor; Witsell Evans Rasco and Polk Stanley Saunders & Associates
- Construction Dates: 1876-1881; 1897; 1908–1910; 1994–1997
- Landmark Status: Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
- Architectural Style: Italian Renaissance Revival
- Primary Materials: Sandstone and Granite
- Prominent Features: Central pavilion; Restored open-cage elevator and courtrooms
- ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i "GSA - Find a Building". Old Post Office and Courthouse, Little Rock, AR : Building Overview. U.S. General Services Administration. 2009-08-24. http://www.gsa.gov/portal/ext/html/site/hb/category/25431/actionParameter/exploreByBuilding/buildingId/040.
- Material on this page was initially produced by the U.S. General Services Administration, an agency of the United States government, and was reproduced with their express permission. The original text produced by the General Services Administration is available here.
U.S. National Register of Historic Places Topics Lists by statesAlabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming Lists by territories Lists by associated states Other
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse — U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, or variations such as Federal Courthouse and Post Office or prefixed by Old, may refer to: U.S. Courthouse and Post Office (Huntsville, Alabama), listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) Frank M.… … Wikipedia
United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… … Universalium
United States Army Corps of Engineers — Infobox Military Unit unit name=U.S. Army Corps of Engineers caption=USACE Logo dates=June 15, 1775 Present country=United States allegiance= branch=United States Army type= role= size= 34,600 civilian and 650 military members command structure=… … Wikipedia
U.S. Post Office — may refer to the United States Post Office Department (1792–1971) or to the United States Postal Service (since 1971). The term may also refer to individual buildings, many of which have historical or architectural significance. Some noted… … Wikipedia
Old Post Office — Old Post Office, or Former Post Office, may refer to: United Kingdom Old Post Office, Bristol Tintagel Old Post Office, Tintagel United States (ordered by state and city) Old Athens, Alabama Main Post Office in Athens, Alabama, listed on the… … Wikipedia
U.S. Customhouse and Post Office — may refer to: U.S. Post Office and Customs House Douglas Main, Douglas, Arizona Old Post Office Building and Customhouse (Little Rock, Arkansas) U.S. Post Office, Courthouse, and Customhouse (Wilmington, Delaware) Old Post Office and Customshouse … Wikipedia
National Register of Historic Places listings in Little Rock, Arkansas — Location of Little Rock in Arkansas This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places… … Wikipedia
List of areas in the United States National Park System — National Park Service logo. The National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. This includes all areas designated National Parks and most National Monuments,… … Wikipedia
Terrorism in the United States — A common definition of terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change.cite web|url= http://www.britannica.com/eb/article… … Wikipedia
List of the United States National Park System official units — The Official Units of the National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. As of 2011, there are 397 official units of the National Park System. However, this… … Wikipedia