Davenport, FL

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This post office in central Florida is graced by Pim and E.T. Hitchcock, both looking very summery.

From the State Library and Archives of Florida.

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Coral Gables, FL

po-coral-gables-flThis post office in Florida’s Coral Gables, “the city beautiful,” knew how to make an entrance. Sadly, it was sold and torn down to make way for a larger building.

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Photos by William A. Fishbaugh from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Chokoloskee, FL

po-choco2Postmaster Ted Smallwood in the doorway of his store and post office

Just 20 feet above sea level at its highest points (and those are shell mounds left by Native Americans), Chokoloskee Island, Florida, barely rises above the Gulf of Mexico at the northern end of the state’s “Ten Thousand Islands.”

Modern settlement began in 1874; early residents farmed, fished and caught turtles. C. G. McKinney moved there in 1886, opened a store and secured a post office for the island in 1891. Ted Smallwood began his postal career carrying the mail by sailboat between Everglades City and Chokoloskee; a conch shell was blown to alert the islanders when the mail arrived.

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In 1897, Smallwood married and settled on the island, hunting alligators, fishing and raising tomatoes. In 1906, he became postmaster and opened a store which housed the post office. He worked as postmaster until 1941, when his daughter took over. Smallwood died in 1951, but his daughters kept the store open until 1982. The store was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

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Smallwood Store and Post Office; photo by Karl Holland, State Library and Archives of Florida

Today, Ted Smallwood’s granddaughter has reopened the store as a museum.

Tangier, Morocco

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The British post office in Tangier, which also was home to Spanish and French post offices, dates from 1898. This quote, a remembrance circa 1950, pays homage to it in a lovely way:

“To have known Tangier under the Condominium with its French and Spanish sectors, its British post office, its Moroccan souks and brothels and Berber vegetable markets, its atmosphere of fiscal, sexual and political freedom, its easy society and douceur de vivre – based on excellent servants – was one of the charms of the old Europe. The Arab medina was one of the loveliest of medieval towns, to which the confluence of Atlantic and Mediterranean climate lent a permanent seduction…

“In spring the breeze sang in the palm trees of the Villa de France, the rain dripped in the eucalyptus woods by the Glaoui’s palace, clouds formed over the Rîf or sun sparkled on the great yellow dune by the Punta de Tarifa; flowers covered the green downs by the airport road to Tetuan, Atlantic breakers shimmered along the Larache beaches. In the town were French restaurants like the Pavilion and pâtisseries, English groceries, cafés with Arab music, American bars with good sandwiches and rye… all-night bars like the desultory Mar Chico, ultimate station of the lost, with its atmosphere of the Spanish Foreign Legion. And the British stronghold – Dean’s Bar. ‘Dean’ was a dark-coloured Egyptian said to be the offspring of an English lady and her dragoman. He had beautiful manners and an Oxford accent of the old school…

“How pleasant it was to sit in his bar of a morning and read the papers or one’s mail, fresh from the British Post Office across the way, while some of the older residents dropped in, sent out their invitations or discussed the previous evening.”

— Cyril Connolly in a preface to Robin Maugham’s The Wrong People (1970)

Lafayette, IN

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What a gem. This post office in Lafayette, Indiana, has an arched entrance, towers, a wild roof line, awnings — all the touches I love — and a wagon and a horseless carriage in the same photo. Life is good. And below, check out what appears to be a lantern at the intersection.

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PO Lafayette IN