On our list of errands was a stop by the post office to mail a gift to New York. The closest one to us was this Hamilton Street branch. I already liked the facade so told the kids to "hold that pose."
|Love the grillwork at the top|
I was fascinated with the grills, the exposed wooden beams, the lighting fixtures, and the patterned floor. The PO boxes looked like they were straight from set of a period film.
|Original ornate brass PO boxes|
They wasted no time trying to figure out how to use the Priority Mail envelopes and the self-serve station. They weighed their package, wrote the label and then got the rate by punching the zip code into the machine.
|Package to Sloatsburg costs...|
They could've printed out the stamp and dropped the package right here but they still wanted to talk to a live person and see exactly what a post office clerk does. I think they also wanted to make sure their package was in good hands, and not just dropped into an impersonal box.
This post office was built in the 1930's by Birge Clark, Palo Alto's first architect. Clark was also responsible for designing many other Palo Alto landmarks, giving the city a cohesive Spanish Revival feel, or something Clark liked to call "early California."
In the 30's, space was not a premium and lots of people were probably coming in to mail letters and packages, perhaps even socializing here like a community center. But in this age of email plus other alternatives for sending parcels around the country, dedicating all this space to a post office seems like a waste of prime property.
It didn't surprise me then when the post office staff mentioned they were moving to a smaller location sometime soon.
The post office experience must've made quite an impression on the kids because when we got home from this trip, they promptly set up a "post office" in their room complete with free envelopes and lots of stamping paraphernalia.
For a couple of weeks they got everyone in the house to write notes to each other, which they delivered to the rooms in the evening (for a fee of course, just like in the post office!).
|These would look good on my porch trellis|