They certainly don’t make them like they used to. Take this circa 1863 two-story, 9,200 square foot building – part of an Intermodal Transportation Center located in Niagara Falls. The US Customhouse building was meticulously restored by Wendel (design, construction and energy services company). The restoration project, which was completed in 2016, is now the recipient of a 2017 Preservation Award – the Outstanding Public Building award.
The Customhouse is part of an even larger multimillion dollar Niagara Falls Train Station and Intermodal Transportation Center project. The actual customhouse is part of the train station regimen, and also houses U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel and operations. There is also a historic component, beyond the architecture. Due to the close proximity of the building, as it relates to Canada, the site is known as a confirmed stop along the Underground Railroad. Therefore, the first floor houses the Harriet Tubman Museum and Interpretive Center.
Along with the historic components, the project features retail, an outside amphitheater, and green spaces. The building is open as a gathering place for the traveling public.
This is a big win for Niagara Falls. Before Wendel got to work on restoring the structure, it was heavily deteriorating. Now that it has been restored, it is already being seen as a catalyst for future development of the north Main Street commercial district of Niagara Falls.
It’s incredible the witness what forward-thinking preservationists are able to accomplish when the stars align. This is another fine example of the importance of saving this region’s architectural heritage, so that future generations can enjoy the craftsmanship that went into these awesome structures.