Historic U.S. Postal Buildings Threatened with Sale and Demolition

The U.S. Postal Service is selling 78 post office buildings, including the National Register listed Berkeley California Post Office building. 4,400 nationwide may be sold with many demolished. What can you do to save your favorite post office?
November 16, 2012, 6am PST | wadams92101
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Jeri Holan, a bay area preservation architect, writes about the threat to the Berkeley California historic post office building, and U.S. Post Office buildings everywhere, from U.S. Government's plans to close and liquidate many of them.

"Across the country, amidst cries of protest, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is studying the idea of selling 4,400 public post offices. 78 are actually for sale today, while a few have already been sold. In large urban areas, the buildings are often located in prime downtown areas. In smaller communities, these post offices can be the heart and soul of a town. In many cases, the buildings are historically significant and anchor business districts, often containing irreplaceable art work which has become an integral part of a City's cultural landscape. . . .

Needless to say, the preservation community is trying to prevent as much loss as possible to these very important buildings. The National Trust has added U.S. Post Offices to their 2012 Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places List and are working to amend federal legislation and stewardship in regard to the buildings. They are also monitoring three very significant land transfers around the country, the most important and highly visible one being the Berkeley Main Post Office. This 1914 Beaux Arts structure, based on the Renaissance design of Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital in Florence, Italy, anchors Berkeley's historic Civic Center District and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980."

While preserving historic post offices may be an uphill battle, ". . . the National Trust, the California Preservation Foundation, and other interest groups are advocating action in order to preserve these public treasures: get involved and informed, go to public meetings, engage local, state, and federal officials; appeal decisions to sell post offices and initiate the Section 106 process if appeals are denied; and help identify preservation-minded buyers such as local governments and developers because the best reuse for a post office would be a public function."

Thanks to William Adams (UrbDeZine.com)

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Published on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in UrbDeZine.com
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