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Hamilton House: 1910

Hamilton House: 1910

Manhattan circa 1910. "U.S. Custom House, New York, N.Y." The Alexander Hamilton Custom House, completed in 1907 at 1 Bowling Green. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Italianate Bowling

Off the left edge of the photo (to the north of the Customs House) still stands Bowling Green. So called because the Dutch played lawn bowling there. During the Revolutionary War, the iron fence around Bowling Green was melted down for munitions, including an image of the King's head.

The Italian Palazzo-like building (complete with campanille and Romanesque arches) behind (to the east of) the Customs House now sports a boring glass tower with the address 2 Broadway.

History Saved

Gorgeous building. Everything else to left and right has been torn down. There's a wonderful display there which shows the design and construction of the building.

Admission to the Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian, is free. Excellent bathrooms, btw.


Some awning salesman must have made his yearly bonus on that building!

Thanks, AleHouseMug

Preservation of this building almost makes up for the loss of the original Penn Station ... almost.


Slated for demolition in the 1970s, after the completion of the World Trade Center put the customs office there. There was no longer a counter to take a sample to of a ship's cargo for testing and assessing. My father, as a young office boy, would take oil samples from the Standard Oil Co., then a few doors up Broadway, to be tested. The clerks stations survive to this day.

In the 1970s I helped clean out the Merchant Marine Library there (a mariner could borrow a book and leave it at another library in another port on the honor system). They were dumping the books. I still have some, and others ended up at the museum library this 16-year-old worked at.

In the 1990s my wife had a job at the National Museum of the American Indian, one of several occupiers of this great building (Bankruptcy Court is another, as well as the National Archives branch for NYC). Her office was the space that I cleaned out in the 1970s.

If you visit, a look at the rotunda and its WPA murals by Reginald Marsh is a must. All in a building designed by Cass Gilbert. Oh - and the statuary out front? Daniel Chester French.

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