Built on landfill, Ketchikan's Federal Building is an unusually vertical version of 1930s government architecture in Alaska. The Cleveland, Ohio, architectural firm of Garfield, Stanley-Brown, Harris, and Robinson designed a terracotta-embellished, semi-hexagonal building in 1933. When construction bids exceeded the allotted amount, the firm redesigned, ending up with this five-story, reinforced concrete building. Construction of the 50-foot-by-117-foot building, with a one-story 49-foot-by-51-foot section on one side, was begun in 1937 and completed one year later for $326,000. The concrete on the exterior is smooth finished and unornamented, except for horizontal lines at the levels of sills and lintels and vertical lines between windows, characteristic of the austere style of the federal buildings in frontier Alaska. The building housed the post office, courthouse, customhouse, and jail. Today the visitors' center of the U.S. Forest Service occupies the first floor, with offices and courtrooms above.
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