Historic Post Offices
May 22, 2015
The Postal Service has taken another step toward selling the historic 1932 post office on Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto, California. On May 28, there will be a public meeting to discuss the relocation of retail services. Dean Cameron, USPS real estate specialist Dean Cameron says, ""If the Postal Service decides to move forward with its relocation, it anticipates offering the post office property for sale after completing a separate process to take into account the effects, if any, of the sale on historic properties." In May 2013, the Palo Alto City Council authorized the City Manager to make a bid for the building, and the city continues to be interested in buying it. Read more.
March 25, 2015
In late January 2015, the Postal Service discontinued the post office in Plant City, Florida. As reported in this previous post, it was the first discontinuance in over 16 months. The community had until Feb. 27 to file an appeal with the Postal Regulatory Commission, but no one did so, and now the Postal Service is reviewing the property for sale. There's little doubt how the review will end. The Postal Service has been planning to sell the building at least since June 2013, when the post office was closed for an emergency suspension due to a leaky roof and some mold — not unusual conditions for a post office built in 1935, especially when the owner (the Postal Service) doesn't bother with upkeep. Read more.
February 10, 2015
In her introduction to the 2012 Forum Journal on Section 106, National Trust president Stephanie Meeks notes that Section 106 requires federal agencies to “stop, look and listen” before jeopardizing historic resources. This valuable tool has saved thousands of historic sites across the country. But it only works as long as all players—preservationists and federal agencies—clearly understand Section 106 and their role in the process. As we approach the 50-year mark of the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 106, the Preservation Leadership Forum has enlisted the help of preservation practitioners to take a close look at how Section 106 has worked over the past five decades. Here Steve Hutkins, professor at New York University and editor of “Save the Post Office” website, talks about recent problems with the disposal of historic post offices and the use of covenants and Section 106 to protect these buildings. Read more.
December 24, 2014
The historic post office in Plymouth, Michigan, was sold earlier this year, and now the new owner has announced that the space will be leased to the Westborn Market, which will be opening a specialty grocery store. Westborn is working with state and local officials, including Plymouth's Historic District Commission, to make sure renovations are in keeping with the building's original character. Mark Malcolm said there are plans to apply for the building to be listed with the National Register of Historic places.
The building's lobby includes a four-panel mural, "Plymouth Trail," that was commissioned by the Department of Treasury during the Great Depression. Painted by the Cuban-born Carlos Lopes, who taught at the University of Michigan, it depicts aspects of Plymouth's past. The mural was restored in June by a Chicago art restoration company; the postal service retains ownership of it, and paid for the restoration, but as the building owners, the Malcolms are responsible for preserving it. Read more.