Helen Allingham’s Post Offices

Helen Allingham (1848-1926) was a Victorian artist who had a passion for the English countryside and Surrey cottages in particular. Her watercolors have preserved scores of them for us, a glimpse into another era. Here are three of her postal images:

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The Old Post Office, Brook, Near Witley

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Witley Post Office

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Her Majesty’s Post Office

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S. Bethlehem, PA

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There are Bethlehems all over the U.S.A., including those in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire and South Dakota, but I was only able to scare up one image, that of the post office (and library) in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, shyly concealing its beauty behind a tree.

North Pole, NY

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The tiny hamlet of North Pole, New York, is situated in the Adirondack Park near Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid. It is home to a pioneering theme park, Santa’s Workshop, created in 1949 with costumed characters and a small menagerie which may have been the first petting zoo, all designed by Arturo Monaco, a former Walt Disney artist. In 1953, the U.S. Post Office awarded the hamlet Rural Post Office status, and letters to Santa continue to flow in to this day, along with bundles of Christmas cards seeking the coveted “North Pole” postmark.

Christmas, FL

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It is the holiday season, and no better time to remember the post office in Christmas, Florida, in all its glory. A frontier post during the Seminole Wars, Fort Christmas was so named because work on the stockade began on Christmas Day, 1837. After the wars, when the native Americans were driven away, the area was resettled mostly by U.S. soldiers who had served at Fort Christmas. It’s not quite certain when the town started calling itself Christmas, instead of Fort Christmas, but the post office, established in 1892, has always used Christmas as its name.

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