This Place Matters
Fifty years ago the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was enacted, establishing a federal policy for preserving our nation’s heritage, the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Programs and a federal-state and federal-tribal partnership.
In order to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation created Preservation Week in 1971. Because of overwhelming popularity, however, the trust decided to extend the celebrations to last the month of May.
Today, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country celebrate the places that are meaningful to them during National Preservation Month.
In joining the rest of the country, the New England Region is featuring a number of historic buildings and lighthouses that offer a unique and diverse heritage in our states.
Federal Building and Courthouse - Providence, RI
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the formally named Providence Post Office, Courthouse and Custom House, is located between Fulton and Washington Streets, overlooking Kennedy Plaza.
The six-story building was designed by Clarke & Howe between 1904-06 and in its day it was considered one of the finest federal buildings outside of Washington D.C.
After it was turned over to the GSA in 1961, and renamed the Providence Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, the agency ensured that the building was preserved in a way that upheld its Beaux Arts architecture. The building was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Since then, GSA has worked diligently to remediate the building’s infrastructure in order to maintain it for another 50 years. Learn more
U.S. Custom House - New Bedford, Massachusetts
The coastal city of New Bedford became the world capital of the whaling industry by 1820.In response to that, the U.S. Custom House was built.
Completed in 1836, the Greek revival style structure was set 50 feet above the tide level, giving it an uninterrupted view of the harbor.
This city landmark was designated a National Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 because of its ties to Massachusetts’ maritime heritage, its formative role in the Federal building program and its impressive example of Greek revival style. Learn more
U.S. Custom House - Portland, Maine
Like the New Bedford Custom House above, the Custom House in Portland, Maine also reflects the city’s maritime history.
Located near Portland’s waterfront, this structure, which was completed in 1892, was built to accommodate the city’s growing customs business.
The Renaissance revival style building was especially important to the city after its Exchange Building, which previously housed the customs office, post office and courts, burnt down in the Great Fire of 1866.
As a reflection of Portland’s national prestige at the time, the Custom House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Learn more