Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dismantling a Legacy: New Deal Post Offices Being Sold website reports, "The US Postal Service is dismantling the institution of the community post office and the rich legacy of the New Deal. The USPS has announced that it will be closing as many as 2,000 of its 32,000 post offices and auctioning off the buildings. As of May 2011, about 200 post offices have found themselves on the closing list, Many of them, like the Century Post Office in Raleigh, are significant historic buildings. At least 12 of them were built by the New Deal."

It goes on to say, "At this rate, something like 120 historic New Deal post offices could be closed and sold. They will be converted to real estate offices, retail showrooms, and restaurants. Most are not likely to remain public spaces, and they will certainly not continue to remind citizens of their link to the federal government. Moreover, while they are almost all located in downtown areas and serve people on foot, their services will usually be consolidated to annexes and office parks on the outskirts of town and require a car."

According to the article, "The director of the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum once said that the New Deal murals "constitute a great national treasure . . . and the buiidings that house these works represent a vaulable and important American asset" (quoted in Preserving the People's Post Office by Christopher Shaw). It's one thing to close a small, underutilized, retail post-office outlet in a shopping mall, but closing downtown post offices and selling off valuable architectural resources that belong to the public is a shame, and it shouldn't be happening. "

Shown above, Westport, CT,  Post Office which was built in 1935. The Westport News reports that the post office was sold on May 18 for $2.35 million, to a real estate company named Ansley Westport Partners, based in Atlanta. The new owners of the building will seek a retailer or restaurant as a tenant.

For more on this and other historic post offices being closed, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM