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In March of 1849 Congress created the Department of the Interior. Its purpose is to take care of the nation’s internal affairs. It is located in a 7-story building that covers 2 city blocks. The building was created by the Public Works Administration and is actually connected via tunnel to the first Interior building, which now houses the U.S. General Services Administration.

  • The U.S. Department of the Interior takes up 2 city blocks and has 2,200 rooms with exposure to the exterior.

Because of its unique design, all 2,200 rooms in the building have an exterior exposure. The building was designed by architect Waddy Wood with supervision by then Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. The building has 3 miles of corridors. It features a wealth of paintings and sculptures. The building also had many modern conveniences, like air-conditioning, before most other Federal buildings. The building features lots of offices, a museum, a gift shop, an auditorium, a library and a gym.

The building, the first designed and completed during the Roosevelt Administration, was completed in a little more than a year and a half. Construction began in April of 1935 and was completed in December of 1936. Prior to the completion of the building, employees of the Department were in a smaller building as well as scattered in a number of rented offices throughout the city. The building was designed to bring them all together and meet the needs of such a large department.

Under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Other offices that fall under the leadership of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior include the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Solicitor's Office and the Office of the Inspector General. The Department has 70,000 employees. The Secretary of the Department of the Interior, currently Sally Jewell, is a member of the Cabinet of the President.