This is archived information. It may contain outdated contact names, telephone numbers, Web links, or other information. For up-to-date information visit pages by topic or contact our Office of Public Affairs at For a list of public affairs officers by beat, visit the GSA Newsroom.

New Classroom Lesson Plan Explores Historic Federal Buildings

GSA #10587

May 5, 2009
Contact: Susan Sylvester, (202) 501-1231

WASHINGTON – Three historic federal buildings come alive in a new interactive lesson plan unveiled today as part of National Preservation Month.

"Federal Courthouses and Post Offices: Symbols of Pride and Permanence in American Communities," found at or, was created cooperatively by the U.S. General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service and the National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places program, in partnership with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.

“Our partnership combines the educational outreach expertise of the National Park Service with the exemplary federal stewardship practices of GSA,” said Tony Costa, GSA’s Public Buildings Service Acting Commissioner. “It is a winning combination. As recognized leaders in federal preservation, both agencies understand the value in partnering, in combining resources and knowledge, particularly in public education.”

The lesson plan includes information about the design and construction of the 1875 Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon; the 1916 Byron R. White U.S. Courthouse in Denver, Colorado; and the 1932 Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse and Custom House in Louisville, Kentucky. It also contains histories, photographs, a map, learning activities, and a Supplementary Resources section.

“Bricks and mortar can be windows into the past,” said Dan Wenk, Acting Director of the National Park Service. “I hope that teachers and parents will take advantage of this lesson plan exploring the connections between public buildings and the people they serve and utilize information available about the National Register of Historic Places.” 

"Federal Courthouses" is the 136th "Teaching with Historic Places" online lesson plan. This National Park Service series uses the National Register of Historic Places to enrich traditional classroom instruction of history, social studies, civics, and other subjects. The lessons are indexed by states, historic themes, time periods, learning skills, and history and social studies standards to help teachers use them effectively.

GSA is the steward of more than 480 historic buildings providing more than 60 million square feet of office space for federal agencies. This public building legacy includes custom houses, courthouses, post offices, border stations, and offices across the United States and its territories. As part of its commitment to urban reinvestment and historic preservation, GSA is working to maintain the architectural excellence of America’s public buildings and also keep them safe and accessible. Joining its federal partners in support of “Preserve America,” Executive Order 13287, GSA is fostering increased public use, enjoyment, and appreciation of its historic buildings.

# # #

GSA provides a centralized delivery system of products and services to the federal government, leveraging its enormous buying power to get the best value for taxpayers.
• Founded in 1949, GSA manages more than one-fourth of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.
• GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, as a steward of more than 480 historic properties, and as manager of, the official portal to federal government information and services.
• GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and E-Gov travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.

Did You Know? GSA’s historic buildings inventory includes not only courthouses, custom houses, land ports of entry and federal office buildings, but also such properties originally constructed as a school, a bus station and an innovative hospital for the insane.


Last Reviewed 2010-04-30