Charles A. Halleck Federal Building, Lafayette, IN
Location: 232 N 4th St, Lafayette, IN 47901
In 1929, realizing that the postal needs of Lafayette, Indiana had surpassed the facilities of the existing nineteenth-century, Romanesque-style post office, Congress authorized the design and construction of a new building on the same site. The legislation was passed by Congress on December 4, 1929 at the urging of Indiana Congressman Will R. Wood. President Hoover signed the measure on March 31, 1931.
The local architectural firm of Walter Scholer was selected to design the new post office building. Scholer was born in Jay County, Indiana to Swiss immigrant parents; he studied architecture at Columbia University from 1913 to 1918. Upon graduation, Scholer joined the firm of Charles W. Nichol and helped reorganize it into Nichol, Scholer and Hoffman. Subsequently, Scholer opened his own firm. During his career, Scholer assisted with many local designs, the most notable of which was the master plan for the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.
On June 30, 1931, the construction contract was awarded to the firm of Joseph A. Tintari of Chicago Heights, Illinois, for $245,760. Cornerstone laying ceremonies were held on October 28, 1931. The structural steel framework was completed by McClintoc-Marshall Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois. The marble was provided by the Carthage Marble Corporation of Carthage, Missouri; the limestone provided by Reed-Powers Cut Stone Company of Bedford, Indiana; and the metal work was completed by the J.S. Heath Company of Waukegan, Illinois. The building was placed into service on August 29, 1932, and the official building dedication ceremonies were held on October 5, 1932.
Shortly after its opening, artwork was sought to enhance the interior of the building's first floor postal lobby. A competition was announced, open to artists who were residents of, or attached to, the state of Indiana. The commission was awarded to Henrik Martin Mayer; his two murals were completed and installed on the south wall of the postal lobby in 1936.
Over the years, numerous alterations and revisions have occurred that compromised the original appearance and historic character of the building. Some examples of the changes include the replacement of the original entry doors and windows with aluminum doors and windows, the addition of an elevator, removal of several light court skylight and window openings, and the building's interior has been substantially remodeled.
The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 28, 1980, as a contributing resource to the significance of the Downtown Lafayette Historic District. In 1983, President Reagan signed a bill renaming the building after retired Congressman Charles A. Halleck. Halleck served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1935 until 1969. During his tenure, he served as the Majority Leader from 1947 to 1949 and again from 1951 to 1955, and as the Minority Leader from 1959 to 1965. The Charles A. Halleck Federal Building is significant as an excellent example of 1930s public architecture.
- Architect: Scholer, Walter
- Construction Dates: 1931-1932
- GSA Building Number: IN0057ZZ
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed