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Ammi B. Young

Supervising Architect of the Treasury and his 1858 Alexandria Post Office and Customhouse

Published in the Summer 1994 issue of the The Alexandria Chronicle, by the Alexandria Historical Society, Inc.

Ammi B. Young, Supervising Architect of the Treasury and his 1858 Alexandria Post Office and Customhouse, page 9 of 16

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building. More was done in 1868, and in 1871, when the building was declared to “have been thoroughly repaired and remodeled and (is) now in good condition. 1t32 More money was spent in 1873, 1875 and in 1877 as "extensive alteration and repairs were completed. It By this latter date a total of $10,985.08 had been spent on the structure since completion; by 1900 nearly $25,000 had been expended. 33 The Plattsburg building, meanwhile, had only incurred about $16,000 worth of repairs and improvements since its construction. It should be noted that several major modern improvements were included in these expenditures; for example, both sites had central heating installed in the 1890s.

After the turn of the century, it was decided that Alexandria had outgrown its original space. In 1902 plans were drawn up for new lock boxes, Post Office screens, revolving doors, a new parcel post window, and plumbing and steam heat repairs. Subsequently, it was decided to enlarge the St. Asaph Street facade from three bays to five. James Knox Taylor, architect of the Treasury, designed .and constructed the addition which was occupied in 1904.

By the late 1920s the new extension was obsolete. In 1929, Alexandria was chosen as one of 199 new building sites for which Congress had authorized funds for new construction. The 1858 Young building and two brick dwellings on the southeast corner of Washington and Prince Streets were razed in the summer of 1930, and shortly thereafter the structure now on the corner of South Washington and Prince Streets was begun. The new Post Office and Courthouse was occupied in December 1931 and the area that had been the 1858 Young structure became a parking lot for the new building." The building now houses the U.S. District Court which will be removed upon the completion of the new federal building on Duke Street. The future of the 1930 building is uncertain.


The Alexandria Post Off ice and Courthouse exemplify Young ' s 1850s government building designs and his early use of iron in fireproof structures. Unfortunately, the hard economic times of the thirties, the demand for more court space, and the need for parking of mail trucks and patrons overcame any desires, had there been any, to save the Young building. Its twin, the Plattsburg, New York Post Office and Customhouse met a similar fate at approximately the same time. The site is now a larger and more modern federal building.

It is not known how many of Ammi Young's buildings still exist, but probably more remain in smaller cities and towns. This is especially true of the northeast United States, where there has been less growth than in other parts of the country over the intervening years. Nearest to Alexandria is the Georgetown Post Office and Customhouse, now designated the Georgetown Station by the U.S.

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Last updated September 27, 2009