Nix federal building in need of repair

Market East's historic Robert N.C. Nix Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse could get a needed facelift thanks to a $3.416 million request included in President Obama's 2014 budget.

The Nix building, which runs along 9th Street between Chestnut and Market, was built as a Public Works Administration project between 1937-1939. It is notable for its Moderne design, and one can't help but notice the charismatic bas relief sculptures along the ground floor: Donald De Lue's allegories of justice and law flank the entrances on Market and Chestnut, while Edmond Amateis's along 9th Street show styliezed letter carriers in the "four corners" of America. The Nix building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

These days the building’s façade and windows are in need of restoration attention.

The facades along Market, Chestnut and 9th streets require “significant masonry work to prevent further cracking and falling debris,” said Gina Gilliam, US General Services Administration’s Regional Public Affairs Officer. Gilliam also explained via email that the buildings monumental bronze windows will be repaired primed and coated. Cracked and failing glass will be replaced, and the aluminum and steel windows will be cleaned to remove corrosion.

The building's western facade will be repaired this year due to its substantial deterioration and even more pressing safety concerns.

    • Postmen in the Panama Canal Zone (
      Postmen in the Panama Canal Zone ("South") and Alaska ("North").
    • Edmond Amateis' cowboy postman is meant to symbolize the West.
      Edmond Amateis' cowboy postman is meant to symbolize the West.
    • Eastern facade of the Nix building
      Eastern facade of the Nix building
    • Postman representing the East.
      Postman representing the East.
    • The corner of 9th and Market
      The corner of 9th and Market
    • Moderne Nix
      Moderne Nix
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To see excellent interior photos of the post office and courts, check out the General Services Administration page for the Robert N. C. Nix, Sr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from September 2015 until July 2017. She holds masters degrees in city planning and historic preservation from PennDesign. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia. She is proud to call 19147 home. 

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.

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