Northeast Caribbean Region Hosts Tour of Historic Buildings in New York

Tour participants take in the Grand Rotunda by Spanish engineer Raphael Guastavino and WPA-era murals by Reginald Marsh.
Tour participants take in the Grand Rotunda by Spanish engineer Raphael Guastavino and WPA-era murals by Reginald Marsh.

The more than 400 historic buildings in GSA’s national inventory are some of the most significant and beautiful public facilities in the country. In fact, many major cities often have several such buildings located in their civic area and consider them a source of local pride.

Two of GSA’s historic buildings were built by the great American architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert built several public and nonpublic buildings in New York City, and they stand today as some of the best examples of American architecture. Recently, GSA — in collaboration with Gilbert’s granddaughter, federal partner agencies, and a private building owner — took a closer look at these buildings as part of the “Cass Gilbert Trail” tour.

The “Cass Gilbert Trail” tour, which took place in the fall, featured guided tours through the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House and the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, as well as the privately-owned Woolworth Building. The response to the tours was overwhelmingly positive and more tour dates will be scheduled in 2015.

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House

The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House was completed in 1907 and is considered one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the nation. Today, it houses the offices of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Archives at New York City, as well as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and several smaller federal offices.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse

The Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, completed in 1939, was Gilbert’s final project and is also the first federal skyscraper. It houses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Woolworth Building

The third building on the “Cass Gilbert Trail,” the privately-owned Woolworth Building, was the tallest building in the world from 1913 until 1930. Today, the Woolworth Building is just a few city blocks away from the current tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center – the future home of GSA’s Northeast and Caribbean Regional headquarters when it relocates there in 2016.

GSA is proud to be entrusted with a great public building legacy that includes such distinctive federal structures. For more information our historic buildings please visit our webpage.