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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

U.S. Court House and Post Office (2)

U.S. Court House and Post Office (2)

John R. Osgood Co. - 1876

The hand-colored architectural drawing of the three story building, in Romanesque Revival style, shows a steep hipped roof with Gothic style ornamentation, windows and entrances with arch surrounds, and two sets of multiple chimneys sit on either side of the central portion of the building. Homes are shown on the left and a church steeple and factory chimney are seen on the right. The title at the bottom reads, "U.S. Court House and Post Office, Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. A Potter, Supervising Architect, Treasury Department. The publication is identified along the left border as, American Architect and Building News, July 22, 1876.


Full Details

TitleU.S. Court House and Post Office (2)
CreatorJohn R. Osgood Co.
Current AddressNo long exists
Pre 1912 AddressBlock bounded by Lyon, N. Division, Pearl and Ionia Streets
ArchitectWilliam Appleton Potter, Supervising Architects Office of the U.S. Treasury Dept. 1874-1877
ContractorJohn R. Stewart, Superintendent of Construction
Date ConstructedCompleted 1879
Original OwnerFederal Governement
Original UsePost Office, Internal Revenue, and US Court officers
Information SourceThe History of the City of Grand Rapids by Albert Baxter. 1891

Congress appropriated $212,000 in the fall of 1878 for the structure and the site.
The building, called the Government Building in Baxter's History, is often attributed to James G. Hill, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Dept. from August 1876-1883. Since the building was constructed during his tenure he would have been the supervising architect, technically, but the building was designed by William A. Potter. His 1876 design, shown in the American Architecture and Building News, does not include the Italianate brackets beneath the roof-line nor the gabled dormers. Those may have been added to the design by Hill. The pitch of the roof appears much steeper in Potter's version than the actual building but that may be due the angle of the photograph.
The Federal Building, which replaced this building in 1909, was designed by Supervising Architect James Knox Taylor, 1897-1912. Later that building was occupied solely by the Post Office. It then became home to the Art Museum but as of 2008 stands empty. The same plans were used for a government building in Dayton, Ohio.
It appears that the prints were each hand-colored for the publication, thus the difference in the coloration of the sky in version (1).

CollectionThomas Dilley
Locationlocation on map

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