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U.S. Custom House

Portland's Custom House is a skillful blend of Renaissance Revival and Second Empire styles. The U.S. Custom House symbolizes the historic importance of Portland's maritime industry. It was built to accommodate the city's vibrant customs business, which, by the mid-19th century, collected $900,000 annually in customs duties - a significant sum.

Construction of the Custom House began in 1867, a year after a massive fire destroyed the former customs office and much of downtown Portland. The Custom House was built with New Hampshire granite and slate roof shingles. Those fireproof materials were chosen because of the city's catastrophic blaze.

The Custom House combines Second Empire and Renaissance Revival styles and was completed under the direction of Alfred B. Mullett, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury. It is the best of Mullett's work in Maine and continues to serve its original function. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Information courtesy of the US General Services Administration

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