U.S. Customs House

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Ammi B. Young (1798-1874), supervising architect of the U. S. Treasury Department, provided designs for some seventy customs houses and other government buildings throughout the country. All were solid, literate works and established a high standard for federal government architecture. Befitting Norfolk’s status as a major port, Young’s Norfolk customs house ranks among his most ambitious schemes. For it he departed from his usual Tuscan palazzo format in favor of a richly classical design, with overtones of 18th-century Anglo-Palladianism. The dominant element of the U.S. Customs House is the carefully articulated Corinthian portico. Completed in 1859, the downtown Norfolk building remains free from significant alteration and still serves its original function. With its granite walls and iron structural columns, the U.S. Customs House is an early essay in fireproof construction.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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