Bradford's Old Post Office
1913 - 1982
One of Bradford's most impressive buildings is the old post office on East Corydon Street, next to St. Bernard's Catholic Church. Abandoned by the postal service in 1982 when postal facilities were moved to Boylston Street, the building was auctioned and sold to SU Technologies of Bradford. They have renovated the building and use it for their computer consulting business.
The building was Bradford's first federal building. Built in 1913, it officially opened for business on February 20, 1913, although the public was invited for a general inspection and reception two weeks previous. Part of the lengthy article written by The Bradford Era follows:
"It is estimated the building, lot, and equipment will cost in excess of $100,000. It is a model for a small city post office, and its equipment and furnishings are of the most modern type. Entering the new building from the East Corydon Street front, the patrons of the new post office will be impressed by the handsome Colonial style of the architecture. The front verandah is provided with six large pillars--passing through a revolving door, the patron finds himself in the lobby which is approximately 52 x 14 feet. In this lobby, is also the mailing vestibule and a money order department 15 x 10 feet. The main lobby is very handsome in plan and finish. The floor is of terazza with a border of Easton green marble, a product of Pennsylvania. The wainscoting is of imported Italian marble. Leading from the money order lobby is a handsome marble stairway with railing of iron and brass. At the landing is a stair hall from which open the offices of the Internal Revenue and toilet. The office of the Internal Revenue collector is provided with a vault, rugs, lockers, and electric lights, in the rear is another office about 14 x 16 feet. This will be used by any government official who may locate to Bradford at any time."
The general contractor and builder was William Hanley, noted for his construction of St. Bernard's Church in 1892, City Hall in 1898, and Marilla Brook Reservoir in 1902. Heating and plumbing were done by A.D. Burns, and electrical work was supplied by the Bradford Electric Light & Power Company. The floors, of concrete, were overlaid with wood or terrazzo; the rough texture bricks are the product of Bradford Pressed Brick of Lewis Run (owned by William Hanley), and the trimmings are Indiana limestone, while the basement walls are granite.
In 1913, there were 11 city letter carriers, 10 clerks, and one rural letter carrier.
When the post office opened in 1913, package delivery was unknown, being handled primarily by the railroad. Within three months following its opening, however, the US Congress authorized the United States Post Office Department to handle parcel post. Since space and facilities for package delivery had not been accounted for when the building was designed, the building was inadequate for the task. In 1927, an annex was built onto the building, and in 1958, the ground floor of the Knights of Columbus building (located right behind the post office on Chestnut Street) was leased to provide a parcel post annex.
In 1913, Bradford postal receipts were less than $60,000. Fifty years later, in 1963, they exceeded $600,000, and handled more than 37 million pieces of mail.
By the 1980s, overcrowded conditions and the need for expansion forced the closure of the Post Office on Corydon Street and prompted the construction of a modern postal facility on Boylston Street, where it remains today.
The old Post Office is still as impressive today as it was 93 years ago when it opened. It stood empty for nearly 16 years until it was bought by a company interested in its preservation. Many in Bradford are thrilled to once again walk up its steps, past the pillars and step back into Bradford's past.