December 10, 1965
Congressman D. R. Matthews
Post Office Building
We appreciate your Olarifying letter of
Deeeaber 4th to Mro Oliver Lawton.
Of course, as you know from having been in on
the transactions from the very begicnnng, original
purpose in obtaining a new post office was to be able
to release the old post office building for developed
aent as as historto site, in line with the restoration
program. My preference was for the National Park
Service to undertake this work, and the building was
to be the United States Goverment Ehhibition Building
eoaplimenting the Spanish, Pan Ameritan, Florida
Buildings already now an accomplished faot. All our
nagotations with the Post Office Department and the
GSA have been in this direction.
I don't feel that the preliminary deolston of the
National Park Service with respect to their disinterest
a final one, and an desirous of exploring this further
in accordance with a request made by Senator Holland
to the director of the National Park Service for a
eonferenoe on this as soon as possible.
It st however, very Important to correct the
statement made by the city and repeated in your letter
that the Park'a advisory board had determined that
the building "not of national or historlo significance."
The city's letter inserted the word "or". This does
not exist in the preliminary findings as reported here.
It is our understanding that the National Park Service
has taken the position that the building does not
have adequate nasi~i a ignifloanoe for purposes of
incorporation within the national monuments system.
Congressman OR. Matthews
December 10, 1965
But their entire historical investigation-and most
certainly ours- emphasizes the very real historical
significance of the building. Everyone concedes
that the walls of the east portion of the building
are the old Spanish Governor*s mansion, and that one
of the walls of the newer west portion dates back
into early American tines.
The reason that this factor is of such major
significance is that the building can be transferred
"without monetary consideration" only if transferred
as a historic monument. There is some possibility
tat if it were transferred to a public agency for
public health or educational purposes that "up to
one hundred percent public benefit allowance" might
be granted. But this is not certain, Other than
these two it would have to be transferred for manic
ipal use to the city at fair market value. The city
is now aware of this, and except for one commissioner
feels that it would be most appropriate to transfer
it as a historic property to a federal agency or the
state, and then negotiate with that agency for any
possible joint use. A great deal has been clarified
sinoe the original dispatch of the city's letter to
the GSA, in this respect.
But I am puzzled by the last sentence in which
it sounds as if you were saying that if it were trans-
ferred to serve as a part of the restoration program
it would be necessary to purchase it at "the lowest
price possible*. This is not the information which
we have from GSA which indicates that it could be
transferred without monetary consideration as a
historical building, to be incorporated in the
restoration program whether under federal or state
Do come by and see us while you are circulating
in this territory.
h. B. Wolfe