You are here

1861 U.S. Custom House (U.S. Custom House, Post Office, and Courthouse)

-A A +A
U.S. Custom House, Post Office, and Courthouse
1861, A. B. Young, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury. 502 20th St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

When this graceful, neo-Palladian building was constructed, it lay outside Galveston's central business district. The first civil building erected by the federal government in Texas, the Custom House was the subject of protracted controversy, due to the manipulations of Charles B. Cluskey, formerly Savannah's most gifted neoclassical architect, who obtained the contract to build Ammi B. Young's design in 1857, then spent four years trying to obtain congressional authorization to redesign it himself. The ironic finale to this intrigue was that the Boston builders who finally constructed the building did so in an astounding four and a half months in 1861, rushing to complete it (and get paid) before Texas seceded from the Union. Since 1999, it has been occupied by offices of the Galveston Historical Foundation.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "1861 U.S. Custom House (U.S. Custom House, Post Office, and Courthouse)", [Galveston, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 415-416.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.