U.S. Custom House - Portland

156 Federal Street
Portland, ME 04101
View Map [nongovernment site]

The U.S. Custom House, located adjacent to the Portland Harbor, is a significant part of Maine's maritime heritage and is an impressive and intact example of post-Civil War Renaissance Revival style architecture. The U.S. Custom House is the best remaining example of Supervisory Architect of the Treasury Alfred B. Mullett's work in the state of Maine and continues to serve its original function. The building was turned over to the GSA in the 1950s.

Property Manager: Tom Severance
Public Access:
None. The Grandball Room, however, is available for public realm events via "C" type Reimbursable Work Authorization (RWA)s.
Amenities:
The Joshua Chamberlain conference room is available for use by government agencies only.
Key Tenants:
Food and Drug Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Small Business Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. General Services Administration.

Parking and Public Transportation

Greater Portland Metro bus stops within walking distance. Parking available at nearby lots and garages.

History and Architectural Features

The U.S. Custom House was built in 1867-1872 on the site of the city's first Custom House. The need for a new Custom House was exacerbated by the Great Fire of July 4, 1866. The fire destroyed the Exchange Building - which had previously housed the customs office, post office, and courts - as well as 1,800 other buildings in the center of the city. The U.S. Custom House has experienced only minor changes since it was constructed, and therefore exhibits a high degree of architectural integrity. The majority of the building's distinctive elements, such as the marble checkerboard floors and decorative staircases remain in place. In 1998, the aluminum doors, which were installed during the 1960s at the main entrances, were replaced with wooden doors similar in design and color to the original doors to the building.

Awards

2014 Honor Award for Restoration from Maine Preservation

Landmark Status

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Last Reviewed: 2020-02-27