U.S. Post Office and Custom House, Pembina, ND
Location: 125 S Cavalier St, Pembina, ND 58271
The Pembina Custom House and Post Office is located on the southeast corner of Stutsman and Cavalier Streets, on the main business street of Pembina. It is the most imposing building in town, and shares the business district with a mere handful of businesses, no more than ten. The building faces Stutsman Street, which is also State Highway 59. Across Cavalier to the southeast is the Pembina River, crossed by the Highway 59 Bridge and to the northwest are business buildings.
The Pembina Customs House and Post Office is in good condition and the original architectural character has been well maintained. The brick of the exterior walls is in good condition. Most of the original wood windows remain and are generally in good condition. The slate roof is intact, with no missing slate shingles. In the west wing, a door has been let into an outside wall which is compatible in style and does no harm to the historic integrity of the building. A ramp for handicapped access has been added on the south side of the building. The ramp is on the back facade and is not noticeable. It does no harm to the historic integrity of the building.
The exterior walls of the building are deep red wire-faced brick laid in English bond (alternating courses of headers and stretchers). At the bottom of the walls is a soldier course which runs around the building like a water table. The soldier course is at grade in places and as high as one to two feet above grade in others. The building was built in the Colonial Revival style, with a gambrel-style roof and classical detailing. The first floor windows are wood double-hung 12 over 12s. They are covered by matching wood storm windows. All the windows are original and in excellent condition, except for a few on the south elevation which have been replaced. The windows and all the wood elements on the building are painted white. The window sills are limestone. The lintels have a limestone keystone flanked by fan-shaped rows of headers. The front porch is wood with a concrete floor. The east entry is fully pedimented and dentilled with fluted pilasters on each side of the entry. These details are executed in wood painted white. The doors are glass and metal and are not original. The main entry door in the front facade is much plainer, with minimal decorative pilasters on each side and a leaded glass transom. The second floor is lighted by dormers cut into the gambrel-style slate roof. The dormer windows are plain to the rear of the roof but the front dormers have extensive classical detailing; i.e., they are gabled with returned eaves and pilasters flanking the windows. The windows are round arched with mock keystones above them and an intricate pattern of lites.
The post office lobby has a floor of red ceramic tiles which measure 6"x6". The grout channels are a half inch wide. A white marble baseboard extends up from the floor 8". Above the baseboard is a wood-paneled wainscot painted white. Atop the wainscot is a white-painted chair rail which projects approximately 1.5". The interior walls and ceiling throughout the facility are plaster. The ceiling fixtures are fluorescent and not original. The east vestibule is metal and glass and is original except for the vestibule doors which are aluminum and glass. The open metal grillwork that was above the post office service windows was maintained when the space was converted to offices. The rest of the interior has plaster walls and ceiling. Direct applied or suspended acoustic tile ceilings have been applied on both the first and second floors. Most of the floors have been carpeted.
The Pembina Customs House and Post Office includes a main two-story building with a gambrel roof flanked to the east and west by gambrel-roofed wings. Flat-roofed one-story wings extend south from the left and right wings perpendicular to the ridge line of the gambrel-roofed wings. The gambrel-roofed wings have two stories; the second story is offices. The majority of the building is devoted to offices for federal agencies. The basement houses a boiler room, former coal room, and general storage.
The information presented above was based on the architectural description in the National Register of Historic Places Inventory nomination form accepted on November 1, 1989.
- Architect: James A. Wetmore
- Construction Dates: 1932
- GSA Building Number: ND0018ZZ
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed