The Federal Building is considered by many to be the crown jewel of Port Huron’s architectural treasures. It has the distinction of being the oldest federal building in the State of Michigan still occupied by the federal government. It houses federal courts and the offices of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection.
Designed by Alfred B. Mullett, who is best known for designing the San Francisco Mint, this 44,397 square foot facility was constructed at an original cost of $200,000 ($4 million in today’s dollars). It originally housed the U.S. Post Office, Customs, and the Courts.
In 2008 the lobby of this historic building was restored to its original grandeur. The renovation included uncovering the 17-foot ornamental plaster ceiling, recreating the mahogany postal wall, installing historically accurate doors and pendant light fixtures, and restoring wood window frames.
Other recent improvements include a heating and ventilating system upgrade, boiler system replacement, energy management controls, fire alarm installation, exterior masonry repairs to the original sandstone block and facade, restoration of the third floor public corridor, and construction of additional U.S. District Court jury rooms and assembly space.
In 1916, a classical fountain that originally stood in front of the building was replaced with a war memorial. In 1930, Congress appropriated $115,000 for an addition to the building, which was completed in 1933.
After the post office vacated the building in 1960, the first floor was renovated for $250,000 to house the Social Security Administration.
Its unique features include an octagonal cupola and simplified Corinthian capitals, which are characteristic of the Renaissance and Greek Revival styles. It originally featured gas chandeliers and 17 Vermont red marble fireplaces.
The second-floor courtroom is magnificent, a showpiece of beautifully crafted woodwork and polished paneling. High ceilings and tall windows add to a feel of permanence and sober values.
The Federal Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. For more details, click on the Destinations Tab above.