Editor's note: This is the 190th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - In 1893, Congress directed that architects of federal buildings be chosen by competition among private architectural firms. Thus it was that Parker & Thomas of Boston and Baltimore was chosen as architect for a new post office and federal courthouse in Huntington. The new building, constructed on 9th Street with a side entrance on 5th Avenue, was completed and occupied in 1907.
Discussion of plans for the construction of such a federal building began as far back as the late 1890s, a time when Huntington was growing steadily as a river-rail connection point and a number of substantial industries were being established.
But it was not long until the original building proved inadequate. Between 1900 and 1910 Huntington's population grew from 12,000 to 33,000. So, in 1910, only three years after completion of the original building, Congress authorized the purchase of land for an addition. Completed in 1919, the addition was constructed at the rear of the original structure, extending it along 5th Avenue.
Huntington continued to grow, and the work of the postal system and the federal judiciary grew right along with it. So in 1937 a second addition was built, again extending the building along 5th Avenue.The Huntington architectural firm of Meanor & Handloser designed the second addition. Both additions emulated the design of the original structure.
The building ceased to be used as a post office in 1977 but it remains in use as a federal courthouse and office building. In 1980, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation renaming the building the Sidney L. Christie Federal Building in honor of the late District Court Judge Christie, who served on the bench from 1964 until his death in 1974. In 1981, the old post office building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
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