The William R. Cotter Federal Building is a historic post office, courthouse, and federal office building located at Hartford in Hartford County, Connecticut. It was the courthouse for United States District Court for the District of Connecticut until 1963.
Building History :
In 1882, the federal government completed construction of Hartford's first permanent post office building. By the 1920s, however, Hartford residents were campaigning for a new postal building to replace the overcrowded Second Empire-style structure. In 1928, the government selected a site for the new building, and two years later contracted the local architectural firm of Malmfeldt, Adams, & Prentice to design the building. Although the Public Buildings Act of 1926 authorized the Office of the Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury to hire private architects to design federal buildings, the Hartford project was one of the few times that the Act was actually invoked.
Major interior renovations to the federal building occurred in 1964 and 1978 after the courts and post office vacated the location. In 1982, the federal government renamed the building to honor Congressman William R. Cotter, who represented the First District of Connecticut from 1971 until his death in 1981. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and currently houses various federal offices.
The William R. Cotter Federal Building is an excellent example of Neoclassical architecture. The architects adopted traditional classical architectural forms while abandoning excessive interior ornament in favor of Art Deco's more stylized decorative components. The building conveys the federal government's dignity and stability, an ideology that was particularly important during the Great Depression.