Building a better bank


Construction crews move a pillar into place in 1861 during construction of the west wing of the oldest Federal departmental building in Washington, D.C. In 1836, Congress authorized construction of a fireproof building to house the Treasury Department, after earlier buildings had been destroyed by fire. The Ionic columns of this Greek Revival building were quarried on Dix Island, near Rockland, Maine, and are 36 feet tall, weigh 30 tons, and cost $5,000 each.

National Archives, Records of the Public Buildings Service