The Federal Building was the first Federal Government project in the South following the Civil War. It was designed in the then-popular Second Empire style by Alfred B. Mullett, head of the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department. Mullet was responsible for the design of many of the government buildings erected during the post-Civil War era, including the Old Executive Office Building near the White House.
The cornerstone for the Raleigh building was laid in 1874; occupancy began in 1878. The building originally housed all local offices of federal agencies, chief among them the post office, located on the first floor, and U.S. District Court, on the second. The latter’s 80-seat courtroom was considered at the time the best fitted in the state. By 1913, the city had grown, and with it the need for additional post office space. The building was doubled in size, the interior refurbished, and the main facade altered to its present form. However, the building’s original materials and most of its detailing were faithfully replicated. In 1939, a large rear addition also adhered to original design precedents.
After World War II, Federal Government agencies experienced unprecedented growth. In Raleigh, most of their offices gradually were moved out of the building to larger, rented facilities elsewhere in the city. In 1970, a new, eight-story Federal Building on the east side of downtown again consolidated agency locations, and became the new home of the court and the post office’s administrative facility. At the same time, the old building was renovated and renamed Century Station in honor of its 100 years of service. Today it continues in its original capacity, meeting the postal needs of downtown Raleigh as well as providing office space. The Federal Building is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
The Federal Building (Century Post Office) is located at 300 Fayetteville Street. The building is open during regular business hours.
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