Custom House History

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The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs house is one of New York City’s important historical landmarks. The U.S. Customs House was built in 1902-1907 near the port of New York and its job was to collect customs from imported goods (New York Architecture 2015). Before income tax was being developed in 1916, customs was the greatest source of income for our government (NMAI 2015). “It is located near the southern tip of Manhattan, next to Battery Park (New York Architecture 2015).” The building is actually on the site of where Fort Amsterdam used to be located.
The federal government used to rent buildings which were previously constructed (New York Architecture). “In the early 19th century, however, the federal government began expanding and constructing
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In August 1912, Congress repealed the Tarsney Act. Only about 30 of 400 building ended up being developed under the Tarnsey Act (NPS). In the 1940’s, President Truman put together a commission to improve the ways in which federal agencies were given space to work. The commission started by Truman led to the creation of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in 1949 (NPS). The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs was being used heavily until the 1970’s. The Customs Service moved to the World Trade Center in 1973 (NMAI 2015). In 1976, Congress passed a law that encouraged the GSA to begin using space in older federal buildings which were not used as often (NPS). The building was put on the list in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and later was listed a National Historic Landmark in 1976 (GSA). In 1979 New York City 's Landmarks Preservation Commission made outside and inside of the customs house spaces into a city landmark (GSA). This would save the customs house from being demolished.
The Customs House was an example of one buildings which had its space repurposed and given new use after 1976 by the GSA (GSA). In 1979 Congress gave $26,500,000 to restore and repair the customs house. The project started in 1983 and was finished by 1994 (GSA). “Today, the building is being used by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the National Archives, and the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution) (New York Architecture
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Customs house is important to American politics because it is an example of the evolving needs and wants of a government and its people. As mentioned earlier, the Tarsney Act shows how people wanted private architects to begin constructing federal buildings because it was cheaper and better looking. The short lived Tarsney act shows how our governments needs and legislation changes over time. The buildings original purpose was to expand the customs service. Over time, the customs house was almost slated for destruction because it was no longer needed. After the building was restored because of the GSA and new laws, the building had a new purpose (NMAI 2015). In present day, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House is home to multiple federal agencies. These agencies are the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. Customs and Border

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