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.
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.
Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.