A post office somewhere in the nation of Mozambique, circa 1910, during the country’s time as a Portuguese colony. The card was published by Oswald Hoffmann, a Portuguese merchant of the era who lived in the southern port city of Inhambane.


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.

Madison, IN

With its deep windows and stout walls, this post office in Madison, Indiana, shown circa 1911, looks like it could withstand a siege. Due to a boom in transportation along the Ohio River (and a bust when rail transportation routes led elsewhere), Madison has an amazing collection of beautiful old homes and buildings that went up during the good times but escaped being torn down to make way for “progress.” In fact, 133 blocks of Madison are on the National Register of Historic Places. Sadly, this post office did not survive, but, according to Diana Hand of the Jefferson County Historical Society, homes in Madison were built from its bricks.


Portsmouth, OH

This lovely old post office that once graced Portsmouth, Ohio, was built of limestone from the famed quarries of Bedford, Indiana. Sadly, it was replaced with a flat-faced monolith in 1936. I love the crowd of men that gathered on the corner when they saw a camera being set up. Below, another view, which includes the spire of the Sixth Street Church.

Although a box, the present day Portsmouth post office does have one distinction: Its basement is home to a museum of Roy Rogers memorabilia.

Vladivostok, Russia

I never thought about people in Siberia posting letters, but Vladivostok is Russia’s largest port on the Pacific, at the far end of the railroad from Moscow, so I guess you’d want a generous postal presence. Finished in 1900, the post office was designed by architect A. A. Gvozdziovsky, who embodied traditional Russian architectural features such as an abundance of arches, small columns and niches with deep windows. The building, at 41 Svetlanskaya Street, is still used as the central post office.