McCormack Federal Building, Boston, Massachusetts
by Wendy Darling
Hulking early 1930s building, original built as a post office and courthouse. Together with the New England Telephone building, they frame Post Office Square nicely, although sadly, as noted, there is no longer a post office on the square
About the Building
Built in 1932-1934, the building is at Post Office Square and is mostly glad in granite. It was entered in the National Register in 1987. See more photos on the Boston Art Deco Society’s web site, which has this to say about it:
Formerly U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
Post Office Square
1932-1934 (Cornerstone laid 1/15/32)
Cram & Ferguson
This massive Moderne skyscraper features an all-granite facade except for the top five limestone Devonshire St. floors, which are set back; and 13-bay principal facades on Devonshire Street and Post Office Square. This may have been the government’s way of giving work to New England granite quarries during the Depression. The best view of the limestone setback is from Tremont Street.
Note the 3-bay, 4-story center entrance section flanked by two 17-story pavilions with rising stone piers and metal spandrels. The lobby area, though run down, is largely intact. Other details include Art Deco copper basement window grates, stylized eagles over the doors, and stylized classical and natural forms such as urns, palmettes, acanthus leaves, and wheat sheaves. Other symbols used on the exterior include bundles of staves (or fascis) at the pinnacles, symbolizing the proverb “united we stand, divided we fall”; and the caduceus, the wand of Mercury, who was primarily the messenger, or postman, of Olympia. The building was determined eligible for listing in the National Register in 1987.
For the first time since 1874, Post Office Square no longer has a post office. In January 2004, the Post Office moved to 31 Milk Street. The courthouses formerly in the building were relocated to the waterfront. Starting in 2005, the building will be renovated as a Federal office building.
View it via Google Street View.