Old Post Office and Customs House

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The Old Post Office and Customs House in Little Rock, Arkansas, has had a long and colorful history since it was originally constructed in 1881 as Little Rock's Courthouse and Post Office.

The supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury designed the building in the Renaissance Revival style. It started with a Cabin Creek, Arkansas, sandstone foundation, a red Missouri granite base, and stone, brick, and buff-colored Berea, Ohio, sandstone for the upper stories. They finished the building with a slate roof in an iron frame.

Additions to the building were made in 1897 and 1910, to keep up with the growing demands of the Little Rock area.

Until 1932, the Old Post Office and Customs House served as a Federal courthouse, post office, and customs house. At that time, the courts and post office moved to Capitol Avenue, its present location.

The building was occupied until 1975 by other federal tenants, until the building was declared surplus and transferred to the Arkansas Commemorative Commission.

In 1978, the State transferred the building to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which used it as a law school until the summer of 1992, when the law school moved to new facilities. It was then that Arkansas conveyed the property back to the U.S. Government.

Chief District Judge Richard Arnold, and others, were responsible for getting approval to make the building a permanent facility. The project design was approved in October 1992, and the construction for the project was approved in January 1994.

Areas within the building have been restored to the grandeur of earlier times. Extensive restoration was done to the original 1881 courtroom with its 23-foot-high decorative plaster ceiling and original wood wainscoting. Added in 1897, the north courtroom featured Tennessee gray marble with Tennessee pink marble borders.

The project added a third courtroom in the area that was originally the old post office workroom on the first floor. Existing columns were incorporated into the walls of the new courtroom.

Through care and respect for the historic building, two wings were blended into the rear. They encompass two floors and a basement, which provides secured parking.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1973.

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