Friday, September 13, 2013

' Letters from our Past '

Nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of mail carriers.  Some two hundred years ago,  early American history icon and inventor Benjamin Franklin founded a postal service in the newly established colonies.  In 1896-97, Mitchell Kendal while redesigning the NYC General Post Office, borrowed the Greek quote of ‘Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Gloom…’ for the upper façade of the remodel.  From this early postal trivia, let us celebrate the legacy of the mail service history in Lake County and Mentor, Ohio.

U.S. Postmaster General Gideon Granger  established regular mail service in our area in 1801.  The first mail arrived from Pittsburgh, Pa. on October 30, 1801.  Warren was the terminus for mail in the Western Reserve.  Four years later, mail service was extended to Cleveland.  Eleazar Gilson was the first mail carrier and he made his rounds every two weeks.  The first stage line traveled through our region in 1803.  It covered some 150 miles and its route included Erie, Pa., Champion (Painesville), Chagrin (Willoughby), and Cleveland.  In 1813, one letter cost the sender $.25.  Letters and mail service were in its infancy.

Mail and Stage Coach Service came to the future Lake County (1840) and Mentor on a regular basis in 1823.  By 1878, the West Mentor Post Office Branch was established at the DG Branch Tavern site.  The Tavern was built in 1814 by Warren Corning and sat on the NE corner of Center Street and Mentor Avenue.  The year 1888 marked the next signature moment in Mentor’s mail history.  Postal Services were now expanded and located inside the newly dedicated Mentor Village Hall.  The Village of Mentor was still quite rural at this point and just beginning its rise as part of the nursery / rose capitol of the day.

The corner of Hart Street and Mentor Avenue became the next location of the Post Office in Mentor.  From 1921-1962, it was a focal point of Mentor’s commercial sector.  The original building still remains today.  A new Mentor Post Office opened in ’62 on Center Street on the site that many remember as Mentor Office Supply.  It had just over a twenty- year history as the current Tyler Blvd. Branch was dedicated on January 1, 1983.  The former site was demolished in 2009.

Joe Baca once wrote, “ The Postal Service’s unmatched ability to reach every household and business in America six days a week is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure…the Postal Service delivers to over 140 million addresses daily and every year that number increases by over two million.”  As the City of Mentor celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2013, let us not forget the men and women of the USPS who were at the forefront and took every step of our journey in history.  While recent years have not always spun a positive light on the USPS, today as you read this, remember to thank those who delivered the letters from your past.


(Originally established in GEAUGA COUNTY)

Name                           Title                           Date Appointed

Daniel Kerr                           Postmaster                  02/16/1819

Washington Parker         Postmaster                  09/05/1832
Daniel Kerr                           Postmaster                  03/24/1834

Heman Brown                  Postmaster                  09/26/1836

Sumner Taylor                  Postmaster                  04/08/1839

Changed to LAKE COUNTY in 1840

Clark Parker                  Postmaster                  07/01/1841

Amos Birchard                  Postmaster                  09/23/1845

Erastus Briggs                  Postmaster                  03/08/1847

William S. Kerr                  Postmaster                  06/01/1849

Eleazer Burridge                  Postmaster                  06/07/1853

Daniel Holmes                  Postmaster                  01/22/1855

Duthan Northrup                  Postmaster                  05/27/1861

Franklin Parker                  Postmaster                  03/02/1871

Lester H. Luse                  Postmaster                  07/26/1877

Robert Radcliffe                  Postmaster                  09/14/1877

Martin V. Hopkins         Postmaster                  12/11/1885

Thomas C. Radcliffe         Postmaster                  09/04/1889

Martin V. Hopkins         Postmaster                  07/31/1893

Franklin M. Smith         Postmaster                  07/19/1897

Thomas H. Code                  Postmaster                  01/31/1914

William F. Lyons                  Postmaster                  12/04/1922

Glen F. Carver                  Postmaster                  04/25/1936

William A. Collins         Acting Postmaster 12/30/1964

Roger A. Kraft                  Acting Postmaster 05/07/1965

Roger A. Kraft                  Postmaster                  08/18/1966

William A. Collins         Acting Postmaster 04/28/1972

William A. Collins         Postmaster                  09/02/1972

Richard Baldwin                  Officer-In-Charge 12/31/1977

Perry S. Metcalf                  Postmaster                  06/03/1978

Kim E. Dellinger                  Officer-In-Charge 03/19/1992

JoAnn Greene                  Officer-In-Charge 06/15/1992

JoAnn Greene                  Postmaster                  01/23/1993

Leon Grigsby                  Officer-In-Charge 09/08/1999

John Vorbel                  Officer-In-Charge 12/01/1999

Julie A. Goins-Gray         Officer-In-Charge 07/02/2001

Julie A. Goins-Gray         Postmaster                  05/03/2003

Michael Bachinger         Officer-In-Charge 02/13/2006

Joseph A. Brambrick         Officer-In-Charge 11/06/2006

Joseph A. Brambrick         Postmaster                  06/23/2007

Phillip R. Sindelar Jr.         Postmaster                  04/07/2012

Sources:  Fairport Harbor, Ohio 1976
                  David G. Van Allen – USPS Community Relations Director
                  City of Mentor website

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