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Historic U.S. Border Inspection Stations, 1931-1943

Tecate Border Station
U.S. Border Inspection Station
Tecate, CA

The real estate holdings at GSA include numerous border inspection stations across the southern and northern borders of the United States. GSA has recently completed extensive research on these important historical buildings.

The early inspection stations, constructed between 1931 and 1943, are significant examples of the nation’s first purpose-built customs and immigration stations for land crossings. Property types that retain their ability to convey historical associations, physical characteristics, and integrity are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.


 

What Is a Border Inspection Station?

Metaline Falls Border Station
U.S. Border Inspection Station
Metaline Falls, Washington

A border inspection station is a facility located at a United States point of entry from which customs and immigration officers inspect, for legal and safety purposes, vehicles and possessions of people incoming to the United States. Additionally, customs and immigration officers at border inspection stations review the documentation of individuals seeking legal entry into the country.

For those entering into the United States, often for the first time, the border inspection station building serves as the first symbolic expression of the United States and its values. As a group, border inspection stations are uniquely designed buildings with particular physical characteristics, as well as reflections of each region’s climate, geography, and history. Prior to 1931, there were no true border inspection stations in the United States, only water ports of entry. The first purpose-built vehicle border inspection stations were constructed between 1931 and 1943, which are presented in depth here.


 

Please continue to learn more about historic border inspection stations:

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Historic Buildings Program


land ports of entry