Saturday, May 18, 2024

HOW THE FIRST POST OFFICE APPEARED IN HOUSTON 

The post office has always been perceived as a reliable way to send a letter or parcel to the right person over a long distance. When there were no telephones, mobile communications, the Internet, or technology, people communicated with each other only by letters and were grateful for this opportunity. Read more at houston-future.

In our world, mail is used mostly to send or receive packages. Correspondence remained somewhere in the 19th to mid-20th centuries, and nowadays, we are used to communicating by smartphone or video.

Every city has a unique history of the origin and emergence of the post office. What is it like in Houston? When and under what circumstances did the post office open in this city?

What it was like before the post office

The building that housed the Houston post office was not immediately intended for this purpose.

Back in the late 19th century, this area was allocated for the Central Station of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.

The Houston Grand Central Depot was also part of the Central Railroad. The first train station was built of brick, had three floors and cost 80 thousand dollars. In the future, in 1906 and 1914, it was to be reconstructed.

In 1934, it was bought by the Southern Pacific Railroad and the station was reconstructed again. Given that the construction cost $4.3 million, one can conclude that a lot of work was done. That was what happened as new railroad tracks and another depot were built. Much attention was paid to the architecture of the building and repairs inside. A new waiting room for passengers looked very luxurious and elegant (beautiful arches, a spectacular ceiling with glass decorations hanging from it, murals on the walls depicting Texas and Houston).

The appearance of a post office

In 1936, the neighboring building was occupied by the US Post Office: it housed a warehouse for parcels. In 1951, the post office itself was opened. The building was L-shaped, but in 1960 it was expanded.

It was during these years that the United States was actively competing with the USSR to be the leader in all spheres: cultural, military, and technical. The desire for superiority prompted the architects to design the post office building in compliance with safety standards.  Bomb shelters were included in the plan. This was done to demonstrate the skill and ability of the Americans. They also came up with the idea of making “spy tunnels”. After its implementation, it turned out that the idea was really suitable because you could observe the employees. These tunnels, or in other words, observation galleries, allowed managers to secretly monitor postal workers to make sure they were not stealing money, food, jewelry, and other items from parcels.

The post office had a separate, main administrative office building. A city celebration was planned for the grand opening of the post office on Central Square, which involved lions from the Houston Zoo.

Barbara Jordan

In 1984, a significant event happened for the post office — it changed its name. The post office was renamed in honor of Barbara Jordan. This woman became the first African-American legislator from the South to be elected to the US Congress. She represented the city of Houston and served in public office with dedication. Delivering a speech in a large square, Barbara noted that she was most grateful for the honor and respect shown to her. The Houston Post Office lasted until 2015. About 2000 employees worked there. The USPS moved to the Sam Houston station.

What opened on the site of the post office

In 2015, the post office was closed and the building was sold to Lovett Commercial. Lovett Commercial specializes in commercial real estate in Houston and throughout Texas. Their activities are related to retail, urban redevelopment, neighborhood enrichment and cooperation with various companies.

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