Port Townsend, WA

The post office in Port Townsend, Washington, was built to serve a community of 6,500. However a depression in 1893 shrank the population to 2,000 before the Romanesque building was completed. At least the staff had lots of room. The building sat on a bluff overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca, dominating its surroundings. The image above from the 1960s is dear to me as it has a VW beetle in the lower left-hand corner. The image below gives you a good idea of how this fortress looked when it was first built.

Traralgon, Australia

The post office in Traralgon, Victoria, Australia, has survived many brushes with development and death, but stands proud; one newspaper described it thusly: “Post office spared from technological martyrdom.” Built in 1886-1887, this whimsical beauty originally included upstairs living quarters for the postmistress, Mrs. Betty Starke, and access to the platform behind the clock tower “from which a great view of the town and surrounds could be obtained.” Good on you, Traralgon.

Lima, Peru


po-lima-webWhat could be more romantic than a moonlit stroll past the post office? The Central Post Office of Lima, Peru, was opened in 1897. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lima sought to shape itself in the image of Paris, hence the European style. Today, the Casa de Correos y Telegrafos is home to the Museo Postal y Filatélico, a museum of Peruvian postal history.

Melbourne, Australia

The General Post Office (GPO) in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was begun in 1859 and built to the design of one A.E. Johnson in the Renaissance Revival style. You’d think this would have been sufficient, but no.


In 1885-1890, the building was expanded with a new third story, mansard roofs above that, and an even more commanding clock tower. In 2001, the Australia Post departed and the building now houses retail stores, but the landmark is still said to be considered the center of Melbourne, with all distances measured from the former GPO.

Syracuse, NY

For a time, Syracuse, New York, had a noble, if not grand, post office at the corner of East Fayette and South Warren Streets (between Bank Alley and South Warren). Its thick stone walls — limestone brought from quarries on the Onondaga Reservation — made it one of the strongest buildings in Syracuse. It took four years to build, and was completed some time around 1892. Photos show it still standing in 1939, and it is noted that when it was taken down, its demolition took four months. However, the U.S. Post Office had already moved, in 1928, to this new home…

I used the post office on Clinton Square often; it had grand hallways, beautiful tables, and it did its part to make the square handsome. However, the U.S. Post Office moved again in 1978, and in 1984, the building was converted to use as an office building: today’s Clinton Exchange. The Syracuse downtown post office is now a wretched little storefront on South Salina Street.