Did you know that before Governor’s House was a cultural center, museum, and library that it was a United States Post Office? That’s right, it was the City of St. Augustine’s post office from the late 1880s until 1965! The building underwent a major facelift from 1935-1937 when Jacksonville architect Mellen Clark Greeley transformed it to resemble its 18th century appearance. Though Governor’s House hasn’t served as a post office for over 60 years, it’s still possible to spot some clues to its postal past throughout the building. Let’s check some of them out!
Clue #1: The Cornerstone
The first clue that Governor’s House was once a post office can be found before you even enter the building! The cornerstone is located on the northeast corner of the building at the corner of St. George Street and Cathedral Place. It was laid at the beginning of the building’s remodel in 1935. You’ll see the names of the architects, the engineer, the Postmaster General, and the Secretary of the Treasury listed.
Clue #2: The Directory Boards
The post office was located at the center of town and surrounded by Flagler’s hotels and many other attractions for visitors and locals. This made it a hub of the community and a great place to post news and advertisements. The bulletin board and the directory boards would have held information about the building itself, but also held space for shared community information. Next time you visit your local post office, see if you notice a modern version of this community board!
Clue #3: The Post Office Boxes
The post office boxes may be the most obvious clue of all that this building was once a post office! In the 1930s, the building would have had many more PO boxes, but most of them were moved to the new post office when it opened down the street in its current downtown location. One block of boxes was left behind, and today it serves as an enduring reminder of our building’s 20th century history.
Clue #4: The Teller Windows
Today, these windows look into our rotating lobby exhibit gallery, but when Governor’s House was a post office, they were the teller windows! This is where you would have sent mail and received packages or post office keys. This was the only post office in St. Augustine for many years; can you imagine how busy it was during the holidays?!
Now that you know a little bit more about the use of Governor’s House, can you spot some of the clues we talked about in this photo? Next time you find yourself in our neighborhood, come on in and see the building from a whole new perspective!
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