The Post Office: A Tour of My Hometown

While I might not like this state’s governor, or some of the laws he as enacted, or has tried to enact, I still like things about my state, including things about my hometown.  I went out earlier this year and photographed some places that I really adore.  So, we’re going to make this a happy post and just look at some pictures.

In this post I want to focus on our post office.  It was built in 1934 and the Art Deco architecture is so fantastic that it is one of only a few post offices from the same era that is included on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks.  It is my absolute favourite building in the entire city.

Side window grille with flowers

 

I’m a bit of a postal nerd, if truth be told.  I enjoy visiting post offices in other cities and towns that I visit.  I get really excited if that post office happens to have some great architectural details.  I also enjoy stamps, letter and postcard writing, and vintage mail boxes.  I’m also in love with Art Deco architecture, so it’s sort of a given I would be in love with our post office.

Plus, the people who work the front are super swell.  We have another one, uptown, that was built in the late eighties, but I’m not a fan of that one, nor the people who work there and will travel out of my way to go to this one that’s located downtown when ever I can manage it.  There was one lady at the new post office that I liked.  She was real twangy and sounded like the women who owned the ranch in Reno in the original 1930s The Women.

I called her “The Come on down lady” because in her twangy, loud voice she’d announce that the next person in line could move forward to her counter by saying, “Come ON down!”  I loved it.  However, she either retired or moved away.  Another lady, Jaunita, worked at the newer post office, but has since been relocated to the downtown branch, so that’s awesome.

Yes, I do get to know the front counter workers by their first names.  There was Marilyn and Jason, but Marilyn retired and Jason simply went MIA.  I don’t know if he retired or moved. There’s also Brenda who still works at the downtown branch.  The Sister is amazed at how much the postal people like me, how friendly they are towards me.  She’s also surprised that I know them by name.  It’s probably sad, but I like to think of them as my friends.

But, let’s get back to the photo’s, shall we?

Front window grille with eagles
Front corner
Side entrance
Front window grille with modes of mail travel; plane, train, & ship
Detail of front lamp-post
Front
Pink and black granite, which is located in the front
Postal cart in the back loading area
Me happy to be out front. The steps I’m standing on are that pink and black granite.

 

But now we should look at the interior.  In my life time, only the far left and far right front entrances have been in service.  The middle entrance has always been closed off.  Inside there is a metal gate with stairs leading down, which has always been closed in my life time.  There is also a balcony and I have never seen anyone utilize it.

The entire interior is made up of different marbles for the floor and half-way up the walls (the rest of the walls are plaster).  There is also marble for the table and counter tops.  The rest is iron for the tables and interior window grilles and aluminum for the lighting fixtures and air vents.

The interior is straight at the front entrances and then curves backwards slightly on either side.  To the left leads to extra PO boxes and a writing-table, the downward stairs and the side entrance.  To the right leads to the postal counters.  On each curved wing of the building are two circular portico’s with doors, which I’ll show.

I’ve been to rather a lot of post offices in different places and I’ve yet to see one, in person, more beautiful than this one.  Though, I do love to see post offices, so if you feel so inclined feel free to comment with photo’s of your local post office.  I’d love to see it!

Standing in the extreme left section of the interior near the side entrance looking towards the front entrance. The book-case in the bottom right is covering the metal gate that leads to the unused stairs.
PO Boxes
Up close shot of Greek key borders and sunburst design around the keyholes.

 

Side entrance

 

One of the circular portico’s.
Detail on the iron gate that blocks the unused stairwell.
Stairs leading down, located behind the ornate iron gate, that are very obviously never used.
Standing in front of the left-side portico and the unused stairs. All the PO Boxes and the upper grilles separating the work area from the customer area. There’s also two of the three entrances in the photo (the middle one is sadly boarded up with white board) with balconies up top. You can see it curves slightly, but the postal counters can not be seen from this angle, though the second portico can be seen.
Highly decorative air vents located on the walls. The same one’s can be seen on either side of the side entrance stairs.
Main entrance (closest to the postal counters) with upper balcony walkway above. All of the entrances contain a vestibule that is about four – five feet deep with doors opening to the outside and a second set of doors that open onto the interior. They are very, very heavy doors.
Detail of the upper grille work located directly opposite of the main front entrances.
There are several, original glass cases mounted into the walls. They all have floral details like this one, but all say different things.
Detail of the original iron and marble tables, of which there are three.
There are two very wide postal counters, meant to contain four total postal workers at a time. So, there are four of these signs in total, one for each original poster worker station.
Detail of the ceiling border painting that runs all around the perimeter of the customer area.
The original lighting fixtures, of which there are about eight in total.
Close-up detail of the lighting fixtures.

 

Now, I’ll show the original post office.  It’s catty-corner to this one, across the street.  It was built at the turn of the century but is now some sort of governmental/federal/court building.  I’ve never been certain what it is actually.

As per the Hattiesburg Museum’s website article, this was the original post office. Click the link, they have a vintage postcard of when this was the post office, as well as the 30’s one when it was first built.  They’re nice to see.  >>http://www.hahsmuseum.org/_postoffice.html
Plaque on the front of the building
Up-close of facade, roof over-hang, and front torch lighting
Up-close of front skinny window
The side of the building has very, very large Edwardian style lamps with round glass shades, which I don’t have a picture of, as I find them a bit creepy. But the base details of them I like.
A historic sign stuck on the corner lot. Yep, some railroad tycoon named the town after his wife and our main thoroughfare is named after him.

 

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