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Page 148 of August 1885 from a ledger recording the materials and tools used, vendor names, monthly wages paid, and other costs during construction of the custom house in Memphis, Tennessee, between 1876 and 1886. The ledger has been digitized and is available. The custom house on Front Street facing Madison Avenue was designed by U.S. Treasury architect James G. Hill in the Italian Villa style comprising a three-story stone structure including two towers. The site was donated by the city in 1876. Work began in August 1876 but was almost immediately suspended because of an error in the description of the land which was corrected in February 1877. In May 1877, excavation for the foundations began. In 1879, construction stopped because of the yellow fever epidemic. Work stopped again in 1880 because of problems with the supply of marble from East Tennessee. This continued to hinder progress so that completion and occupation was not effected until the summer of 1885. The building cost $520,500 plus $50,000 to build a retaining wall along the river ("A History of Public Buildings Under the Control of the Treasury Department", Washington: GPO, 1901). The construction was supervised by Colonel S.L. Fremont until his death in May 1886 and then George S. Jordan. The building housed various federal agencies, including the custom office, courts, and a post office. An addition was built on the west side in 1903. In 1929-1930 the building was completely remodeled in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style with a new façade and the removal of the two towers. The building was renovated to become the University of Memphis Law School in 2010.






United States Customhouse (Memphis, Tenn.)

Memphis Custom House construction ledger, page 148