TrixRosen Photography Preservation architecture COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL

U.s. post office, brooklyn, ny - historical documentation

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Client: The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Center for Historic Buildings. Office of the Chief Architect, Public Buildings Service
Project: U. S. Post Office Building
271 Cadman Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Architect: Mifflin Bell & James Wetmore
Constructed: 1891 - 1892
Nat'l Register ID #: 74001250
GSA Building #: NY0234ZZ
Statement of Significance (see below)
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Statement of Significance

The United States Post Office building in Brooklyn, NY is an outstanding example of Romanesque Revival architecture. The building consists of the original 1891 building with a massive 1933 addition to the rear (north). It is located at Cadman Plaza which extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn Borough Hall, and, therefore, is an integral part of the Municipal Center complex. It's significance is derived from its location as well as its architectural and historical character. The corner tower, dormers and turrets provide a distinctive profile and add greatly to the visual impact of the building on its surroundings. The Brooklyn Post Office is a significant example of the Federal presence within the Municipal Center.

The original building was designed by Mifflin Bell, Supervising Architect of the Treasury. It was begun in 1885 and completed in 1891; it was first occupied in April of 1892. The original design contained more massive details (such as larger towers) than were actually built; because the cost of the site was so great (more than half of the appropriation) there were less funds left for the building itself. In 1892 three passenger elevators and one mail lift were installed.

When more space was needed an addition was planned. The addition, completed in 1933, was designed and constructed under the supervision of James A. Wetmore, Acting Supervising Architect of the Treasury. Built to the north of the original structure, the addition replicates the spirit of the original design using a combination of terra cotta detailing and granite.

While the original building is virtually intact on the exterior it has undergone some significant changes on the interior. The atrium in the center of the 1891 building originally contained a skylight and a lay light to provide illumination for the postal work floor. These were covered-over during World War II when the "black-out" laws were in effect. Perhaps the most significant change to affect the building came in 1980 when the monumental lobby of the 1891 building was completely altered leaving no trace of the original space. Originally used as both a postal facility and a courthouse, there were four courtrooms in the original 1891 building and two courtrooms in the 1933 addition.

The Brooklyn Post Office was listed as a New York City Landmark in February, 1966, and on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1974.

*Click here to see on the SGA website (