The United States Department of the Treasury is a Cabinet department and the
treasury. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government
for more information
The first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton. President George
Washington asked Hamilton to serve after first having asked Robert Morris.
Hamilton almost singlehandedly worked out the nation's early financial system,
and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration as well.
His statue still stands outside the Treasury building.
The Department is administered by the United States Secretary of the Treasury
and the Treasurer of the United States who receives and keeps the money of the
United States. The Department prints and mints all paper currency and coins
in circulation. It also collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service.
In 1800, the federal government moved to Washington, DC and the Department of
the Treasury moved into a porticoed Gregorian-style building designed by an
English architect, George Hadfield.
This structure was partially destroyed by fire in 1801. Later it was burned
by the British in 1814, but was rebuilt by White House architect James Hoban.
The Treasury Building, to the southeast of the White House, was again burned
by arsonists on March 31, 1833, with only the fireproof wing left standing.
The three years after the 1833 fire that destroyed the second Treasury Building,
the Department was without a home of its own. On July 4, 1836, Congress authorized
the construction of a "fireproof building of such dimensions as may be required
for the present and future accommodations" of the Treasury Department.
The new building was completed in 1842.
The building was designed by Robert Mills, who was also the architect of the
Washington Monument and the Patent Office Building. The most architecturally
impressive feature of the Mills design is the east front colonnade running the
length of the building. Each of the 30 columns is 36 feet tall and was carved
out of a single block of granite.
It was found necessary in a few years to enlarge the building, and on March 3,
1855, Congress granted authority to extend the building. Construction of what
is now the South Wing was begun in July 1855 and completed and occupied in
September 1861. While the exterior of the building was executed along the
lines of the original Mills wings, the interiors of the later wings reflect
changes in both building technology and aesthetic tastes. Iron columns and
beams reinforced the buildings brick vaults, and the architectural detailing
became much more ornate, following mid-nineteenth century fashion.
The Department continued to grow, and construction began on the North Wing,
the final addition to the Treasury Building in 1867.
United States Department of the Treasury
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