U.S. Customs House
1 Bowling Green, Cass Gilbert, 1899-1907

Formerly occupied by a pre-revolutionary fort, a presidential palace, a governor's mansion, a lodging house, an earlier customs house and six rowhouses, the Customs House site is linked to the history of settlement in New York from its inception. By 1899, an increasing volume of trade necessitated the construction of a bigger Customs House. Cass Gilbert's fashionable Beaux Arts design united sophisticated technology with traditional forms. Decorative classical architectural details and a complex sculptural program work together to symbolize the importance of New York City's port as well as the wealth, power and cosmopolitanism of the United States as it takes its place among the great mercantile and political powers of the world. Customs functions were moved to the World Trade Center in 1970. A part of the former Customs House is now part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.