Award winning veteran photojournalist
Postal service was dedicated to getting the mail out as fast as they could. They had "post roads" built, they were the first to take advantage of getting mail delivered by airplanes.
Boxes here, canvas bag to throw out at a train station. . . narrow aisle for busy postmen to sort and organize letters and packages.
"Go get the mail," says mom. There is a mailbox in the front of every house. The mail was delivered daily to your home. But at first when mail was "delivered" it was to the local store that served as post office, grocery store, trading post, or the train station. More business and more homes and the federal government's Treasury Department got Congress to approve building a post office, where you could pick up the mail. Cities had mail delivered to their homes, but it wasn't till 1902 that the mail deliver was expanded to rural areas. In 1901 there were 76,945 post offices, but with added mailboxes they didn't need so many post offices. Mail came to you and by 1920 only 52,000 were needed.
Some mailboxes get no respect. Others get decorated. Some are big, others are tiny. There were also mailboxes for dropping in letters for the postman to pick-up at the end of the day. Your letters were safe, only the mailman could open them.
Took a vacation this summer and thought I'd check-out the post offices in Colorado. After stopping at the site of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, which was the beginning of the labor movement. The beginning of the 20th Century was hard on Trinidad. There was a huge fire in downtown back in 1904, destroyed some businesses and mansions build be successful cattlemen. In there place they build a new post office in 1907.
Still in service the post office got a mural from the Trinidad High School art class. Separate painted a mural with stage coach, mountains, Colorado flag, an eagle and signed their names under each drawing in 1984.
Located on East Main street which is the historic Santa Fe trail where cattle from New Mexico were led to the railroad in Kansas
To my surprise I was allowed to go through the metal scanner inside the San Antonio Post Office and Federal Court House. I couldn't get past security in Waco. Couldn't even walk in without cameras to see the courtroom in Texarkana. (They'd only let be use the restroom.)
San Antonio is the regional home of the U.S. Marshal and There was no problem getting my photo gear scanned and see the post office, where they have turned some of the old postal windows into hi-tech interactive information screens covering how the building history and how it is a GREEN Leed certified building.
A very ornate building sitting just across from the Alamo. The mural (s) by fresco artist Howard Cook have been restored and are a visual history of San Antonio from Spanish colony to lowering the Republic flag and raising the United States Stars and Stripes.
Searching out the old main Post Offices in Texas has brought out how they all fly the American flag, but not the same way. In Fort Worth the flag pole is on the roof, in San Antonio there is an ornate base to the flag pole, in Hillsboro eagles holds (no hands!?) the flag pole from the side of the building with the Texas Star at the top, in Tyler the flag pole is part of the architecture and dominates, then in Wichita Falls the American flag flies on a pole several feet away.
Location, location, location is a rule for successful business and the old main post office in New Baunfels was the perfect place for the McAdoo Seafood Company, who renovated the 1915 post office. Naming it after the Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, who devised a general classification system that based the size of the post office to the amount of mail processed. New Braunfels is a CLass C with brick facing, fireproof floors, interior to exclude more expensive woods and marbles; the latter used only where sanitary conditions demand. Class ranking based on annual receipt of $15,000 worth of first-class mail yearly in 1915. MacAdoo was out to save money and preferred taking bids from both local and out-of-state materials.
Round Rock limestone, D'Hanis and Acme brick were suppliers.
Still a post office in Paris Texas. Built in 1924 when James Wetmore was the "acting Supervising architect." What stands out is standing near the door and then turning around and looking at the First Methodist Church. It seems they link together a time when Paris cotton mills and farms were booming.
In Greenville, Texas, the Neo-Classical style post office built in 1910 is a landmark. Not because of the building so much as who enlisted in the army during World War II. It was here on June 20, 1943 that Audie Murphy joined the army and went on to become the most decorated soldier in WWII.
He single-handedly held off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour in France on January 1945. Born to sharecroppers in Hunt County. Murphy left school in fifth grade to pick cotton and help support his family.
The building is now home to the Rotary Club and the old post office entrance along the side is now the entrance to apartments. Not sure the awnings add that much to the building.
Interesting discovering in Philip Paisi's book The Texas Post Office Murals, Art for the People, the California artist Lloyd Goff saw Texas as HOT. His mural "Before the Fencing of Duke County" in Cooper, Texas, shows a shirtless farm hand getting a big drinking of water out of a bucket. Just off to the side is a steer's skull. A skull showing they are in a drought and need water.
tTexarkana merges the city limits across both Texas and Arkansas, but to solve a problem when the federal courthouse was only in Arkansas, they decided to place one building on the state line.
Built in 1933 in the Beaux Art style, the architect made sure features on Arkansas matched the features in Texas. But it is the interior where they got carried away. You enter into the entry with marble, bronze state seals, and above see highly decorated plaster panels. Go inside to the lobby and fine the counter on the Arkansas side and the boxes on the Texas side. Addition of alley for those waiting in line and kiosk in the center between two fine bronze and glass writing tables sre eye-sores.
Jim is focusing on preserving and bringing awareness of those classic post offices. He is happy to speak to groups and show what it was like before the internet..