Federal Building, U.S. Post Office, and Courthouse, Owensboro, KY

The Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Owensboro, Kentucky, is a three-story Renaissance Revival building. Resting on a granite base, the rusticated limestone first floor level supports two upper stories clad with buff brick and limestone trim. The main elevation is to the west. The main entry door on the west elevation sits within a decorative cast iron surround surmounted by a keystone. Brick pilasters divide bays of windows on all elevations and support an unadorned frieze which encircles the building. The denticulated cornice is beneath the crowning balustraded parapet.

First floor windows are wood, double-hung, and set within recessed limestone surrounds and crowned with rusticated voussoirs with keystones. Second floor windows are wood, double-hung, and are set within a corniced limestone surround and third floor windows are set within limestone surrounds with keystones.

The east elevation was altered in 1934 with the one-story buff brick addition. The addition features a limestone cornice and radiating voussiors at the arched windows. Though simpler in detail, it is compatible with the design and materials of the original building. The second and third floor levels of the 1911 building remain at this elevation. A brick projection in the center of the facade on the second floor level reflects the location of the courtroom and contains three large, arched windows. The recessed window bays at either end have the same second and third floor window treatments as the other facades.

Important interior spaces include the ceremonial courtroom, the restored original lobby and the monumental marble staircase. The courtroom features oak paneling and a distinctive oak panel with carved eagle behind the judge's bench. The original lobby was being restored at the time of inspection. Its most dominant feature is a decorative plaster panel ceiling featuring a variety of motifs. The curved white marble stair with a massive marble balustrade at the first floor is also a significant architectural feature of the building.

The Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Owensboro, Kentucky, is significant as an example of Renaissance Revival architecture and a symbol of the federal presence in Owensboro. The three-story brick building rests on a rusticated limestone base. It evokes the Renaissance Revival style in its symmetry, rusticated base, crowning, denticulated cornice, trabeated apertures, horizontal bands of molding, and balustraded parapet.

The Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse is prominently located on Frederica Street, Owensboro's main thoroughfare, in the Central Business District. The previous federal building was located at the intersection of Third and Allen Streets. It had become overcrowded by the early 1900s and the decision was made to construct a new federal building. The site chosen had formerly been the home of Ben Bransford, a tobacco merchant and former mayor. The design was completed under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury Department with James Knox Taylor as Supervising Architect. Construction began in 1909 and the building was occupied in 1911. At that time, the building housed the U.S. Post Office, U.S. Courts, and various federal offices. As the area grew and postal service expanded, the need arose for more postal space. In 1934 a one-story addition was built to the east (rear) to provide more postal work space. The building was extensively remodeled in the early 1960s. The original postal lobby space was virtually removed and a new lobby constructed. In the early 1970s the Post Office moved to a new location.

The building, on a prominent site in the Central Business District, is an example of a significant civic building in Owensboro. After the U.S. Postal Service moved out, the Courts’ presence was expanded and other federal offices moved in. The Owensboro Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse is a continuing symbol of the federal presence in the community.

Description Architect
1909 1911 Original Construction Taylor, James Knox, Sup. Architect
1934 7986 square foot extension built to the east Unknown
1963 Main lobby was altered; original lobby removed Unknown
1996 Main lobby ceiling and floor restored Unknown
Last Reviewed: 2021-09-07