The Federal Building/United States Post Office/Courthouse in Tyler, Texas is significant as a symbol of the federal presence in Tyler. In 1826, the Mexican government gave permission for five hundred Anglo-Americans to settle in east Texas. Smith County was recognized by the first Texas legislature in 1846 and Tyler was incorporated and recognized as the county seat. Tyler developed rapidly, and, by the 1850s, the Texas Supreme Court and the Federal court were located in Tyler. Tyler continued to evolve as a regional center of east Texas, partially due to the east Texas oil fields and partially due to agriculture. In 1885 a red brick Post Office was built on Ferguson Street. The original building was demolished in 1933 and the newer one constructed on the site.
The passage of the Public Buildings Act of 1926 precipitated a period of building construction that was unprecedented in the United States. The Public Buildings Act specified that the office of the Supervising Architect of the Department of Treasury would be responsible for the design and construction of all public buildings. The Federal Building was constructed during this period, in 1934. The office of the Supervising Architect of the Department of Treasury designed the Federal Buildings of the early 1930s. Occasionally a private architectural firm was hired to design a public building. Perhaps due to the failure of over half of the nation's architectural firms during the Depression, the design of public buildings by local firms was encouraged by the mid-1930s. The Federal Building in Tyler was designed by Shirley Simons, a local architect. Many of the Federal buildings of this period exhibit streamlined, almost austere, finishes and features, as evidenced in the streamlined Classical Revival design of the Federal Building.
Since 1885 a Federal Building has stood on this site. In 1976 a new Federal Building was constricted and physically connected to the east side, center section of the 1934 building. Together the two buildings form a Federal complex. The 1943 building continues to serve the community as a Federal courthouse and as a continuing symbol of the Federal presence in Tyler.