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U.S. Customhouse and Post Office

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1857, Ammi B. Young, Supervising Architect of the Treasury. 440–448 Hope St.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Ammi B. Young's tenure as the principal architect of the federal government was characterized by rigid standardization and a dry and fastidious version of the Roman Renaissance. His Bristol Customhouse and Post Office is the brick interpretation, with a strong arcaded portico, vigorously molded piers, and a florid balcony thrust out above cast iron brackets. Had Bristol still been among the first tier of ports, the building certainly would have been granite, but the decline of whaling and shipping had already begun to turn the town into something of a backwater. Nonetheless, Young's design complemented the decorous classicism of historic Bristol. Although the building has been converted to private offices, losing its original doors and the iron balustrade that once marked the roof, its historic character is largely intact.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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