Federal Hall, once located at 26 Wall Street in New York City, was the first capitol building of the United States. The building was demolished in the 19th century and replaced by the current structure, the first United States Customs House. The building is now operated by the National Park Service as the Federal Hall National Memorial, a museum that commemorates the earlier structure.
Two prominent American ideals are reflected in the building's architecture: The Doric columns of the faÃ§ade, designed by Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis, resemble those of the Parthenon and serve as a tribute to Greek democracy; the domed ceiling inside, designed by John Frazee, echoes the Pantheon and the economic might of the Romans.
The current structure is often overshadowed among downtown landmarks by the New York Stock Exchange, which is located diagonally across Wall and Nassau Streets, but the site is one of the most important in the history of the United States and, particularly, the foundation of the United States Government and its democratic institutions. The current building is well-known for the bronze statue of George Washington on its front steps, marking the site where he was inaugurated as US President in the former structure.
21 October 1972, New York Times, "Federal Hall Is Reopened as Museum" by Deirdre Carmody, pg. 37:
The fist was built in 1703 as City Hall and then renovated in 1788 by Pierre L'Enfant - he later planned the nation's capital - and renamed Federal hall.
In 1812, that building was sold for salvage and in 1842 the present building, its facade built to resemble the Parthenon, was put up as a customs house. In 1862, it became a branch of the Treasury, handling 70 per cent of the Government's money.
Since that time, there have been various periods when the large rotunda with its Corinthian columns and pale blue and gold dome has been opened to the public for exhibitions of Washingtonia.
9 June 1985, New York Times, pg. 55:
THE Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street, built in 1842 on the site where George Washington was sworn in as President and the Bill of Rights was passed by Congress, has been called the Parthenon of New York by admirers. But by and large the columnar building has been a forlorn monument, grimy and overshadowed by skyscrapers, the Stock Exchange and the excitement of the nation's leading financial district.
In November a private group, Federal Hall Memorial Associates, said it planned to restore some of the lost grandeur.
12 February 1988, New York Times, pg. C21:
Federal Hall - the site of Washington's first inauguration on April 30, 1789 - will present Colonial music by Linda Russell, a balladeer, on Monday from about 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., and films about the first President will be shown between noon and 3 P.M. The stately Greek Revival structure, at Wall and Nassau Streets, is said to have modeled on the Parthenon when it was built in 1842 to replace the original Federal Hall.
The Big Onion Guide to New York City
Ten Historic Tours
by Seth Kamil and Eric Wakin
New York: New York University Press
On the northeast corner of Nassau and Wall stands Federal Hall National Memorial, the "Parthenon of Wall Street" as some have dubbed it.