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JIM: The Columbia Post Office Building, 1907

By "Jim"

The Columbia Post Office Building, 1907

In early October, 1906, Mr. John Orion Russell (of Russell & Co. fame) "purchased a lot on the northeast side of the public square from the Sallee heirs," for which he paid the sum of $900, the equivalent of almost $22,000 in today's dollars.

A few days later, the October 17th News carried this announcement:

Mr. J.O. Russell will begin the erection of a two-story brick business house on the lot recently purchased of the Sallee heirs on the North-east side of the public square. The first story of the new structure will be used by Mr. James M. Russell as a post-office and the upper section of the building will be fitted up nicely for office rooms.

(J.O. and James M. were brothers.)

Mr. Russell (J.O., that is), a man of action, got construction started immediately, and by the middle February, 1907, just four months later, the News announced that

The new building erected on the northeast side of the public square, to be used as a post-office, was sufficiently near completion last Friday to warrant Mr. James M. Russell moving the office fixtures. This building is well suited for the purpose for which it is being used, and Postmaster Russell and deputies are as proud of the change as a boy with his first pair of boots.

Pete Conover was the deputy postmaster, and the hours of operation were 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. At the time, postmaster positions were appointive; a scant few weeks later, Mr. J.N. Coffey replaced Mr. J.M. Russell, and Mr. Conover resigned his position shortly thereafter.

If there were a formal opening of the postal facility, the News didn't deem it worthy of coverage, and the only other two mentions of the building per se came in May and July. In the former, the News reported that

Mr. A.D. Coy received the contract to build a two story brick business house for Mrs. Mary Garnett on the corner of the public square extending to the new post office building. The building is to be completed by the first of September.

And in late July, came this update:

The brick work on Mrs. Mary Garnett's building has been completed. The wood-work will now be pushed to rapid completion. The fire wall of the post office building, owned by Mr. J.O. Russell, has been raised, making the two buildings the same height.

Mrs. Garnett was the widow of Judge James Garnett.

(While not directly related, the following came to my attention while researching for this article. It appeared in the October 9, 1907 edition of the paper):

Mr. J.N. Coffey, postmaster at Columbia, requests us to state that his clerks are very much annoyed every evening by children who visit the [post]office and keep up a continuous chatting until the mail is distributed. It is a great annoyance, and their action retards the work in the office. Parents will confer favor upon the postmaster by keeping their children at home until the mail is ready for distribution. By so doing persons who receive mail at this office will get it much sooner

Compiled by "Jim."

This story was posted on 2011-04-24 11:48:57
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