Biography and History

From History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884 by John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1884): "In 1810, the United States authorized the purchase of a lot of ground and the construction of a building for the use of the custom-house and the various offices connected therewith . . . . A lot of ground was bought on the west side of Second Street, below Dock, at the northwest corner of Elmslie's Alley, running through to Laurel Court, afterward called Levant Street. Here, on the 12th of July, 1819, the first Federal building used for a custom-house in the city was opened . . . . In this building the business of the Philadelphia custom-house was carried on until about 1845, when the United States Bank having failed, the white marble building on Chestnut Street, between Fourth and Fifth, occupied by that institution, was purchased by the United States government, and has been in use ever since." In 1934, it was replaced by the present Custom House at Second and Chestnut Streets. I

Source: From the finding aid for C0598