Inspection Station Typologies
The majority of the border inspection stations on this web site are a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Multiple property submission is under review at this time. The categorization system employed includes the following:
Property Type Number 1: Three-bay, Standard Inspection Building
The physical characteristics of Property Type Number 1 are a three-bay, 1 or 1½-story standard office building with optional living quarters, garages, and ancillary buildings. These stations were designed for low traffic volumes and generally had a one- or two-lane porte-cochere. The plans were highly symmetrical. Generally, the main entrance to the office building led to a central lobby that provided service counters and access to the immigration offices and customs offices to either side. The rear of the lobby featured restrooms and stairs to the upper level. The second level typically included two immigration rooms, a hallway, an immigration board room/storage, customs office, customs storage, and a closet.
Property Type Number 2: Five-bay Standard Inspection Building
The physical characteristics of Property Type Number 2 are a 1½- or 2 story standard office building with a five-bay main building, four-bay garage wing, living quarters, and ancillary buildings. These stations were designed for moderate traffic volumes and generally had a three- or four-lane porte-cochere. The plans were highly symmetrical but varied between the 1½- and 2-story station sub-types. Vehicular inspection garages adjacent to the main building flanked the respective immigration and customs offices and usually consisted of four bays on each side. The 1½ story sub-type often had detached residences for living quarters, while the 2-story sub-type typically featured the living quarters on the second level.
Beecher Falls, Vermont
The following examples share a similar in that they are 1½ stories in height; Colonial Revival (Georgian) in style, with a side gable above the porte-cochere; built with brick exterior wall surfaces; and designed with a five-bay office with a four-bay garage wing. For the 1½ story stations, the main entrance leads to a central lobby that provides service counters and access to the immigration offices and customs offices to either side.
Property Type Number 3: Seven bay Special Inspection Building
Property Type Number 3 can be described as a 2-story special office building with a seven-bay, or larger, design to accommodate the highest traffic volumes. Only three of the 10 special inspection buildings are symmetrical in plan: Ferry Point, ME; Chief Mountain, MT; and Derby Line, VT.
Morley Gate, Arizona
Along with the three standard types of buildings, there are some variations. At Morley Gate, Arizona, a small drive-up kiosk with Spanish Revival design features is present. At Ferry Point, Maine, the border inspection station is a 2 story building with tall massing and Colonial Revival details, such as a bullseye window, that are not found on any other station. At Milltown, Maine, is a station with both land and water entry; it is located on a lake. In New Orleans, Louisiana, among an enclave of buildings is a water-based station that was also used for quarantine purposes. The last two buildings are not part of the National Register nomination (New Orleans is not a land border inspection station, and Milltown, unfortunately, has lost its design integrity. To be eligible for the National Register under Criterion C, design integrity must be maintained.
Ferry Point, Maine
Beebe Plain, Vermont
Often, border inspection stations included certain types of auxiliary structures. Most often, this was a single-family house that was often designed in a Cape Cod style. Generally, inspectors from each agency (customs and immigration) were provided with detached single-story residences that were identical to each other but reversed. The residences featured front and rear porches, two bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, living room, bath, and closet. The site plans for the main station buildings were symmetrical, and some contained detached storage buildings. Often, when officers did not live in standalone houses, they lived inside the building, either at the ground level or the second floor.
Other auxiliary buildings include cattle inspection pens, standalone garages, and truck inspection facilities.