recent news of some 3,600 post office closing nationwide included
a list of nearly 200 potential closings in Texas.
It’s a cost-cutting measure and there can be little doubt that the
U.S. Postal Service is feeling a big three-way pinch from e-mail,
UPS and Federal Express, not to mention the millions of people using
other technology to communicate.
| I’m not sure
what it was that happened in 1906 but it was drastic enough that they
closed hundreds of post
offices in Texas. It was too late for fallout from the famous
“Panic of ’93” – and it evidently wasn’t drastic enough to have its
own name inscribed in history books. Was the “Anxiety of ‘06” even
These 1906 closures required an updated map of post offices operating
in Texas so that postmasters could use their “return-to-sender” rubber
stamp. The map was published in 1907 and a copy is held (securely)
in the extensive map collection of the Texas General Land Office in
Austin. (For the 1907 postal
map by counties, see Texas Counties.)
This recently restored map is frequently employed in the search for
ghost towns, for that’s
what many of these towns became after the quadruple whammy of WWI,
the Great Depression, school consolidations and the postwar exodus
in search of better- paying jobs.
But the post office map was just that – a map for showing post offices.
Many of the towns that failed to appear on the 1907 map survived and
made it to the (vastly more popular) highway maps that were still
a few years off (all the publishers were waiting for were highways
to be built).
To people familiar with the names on the list
that follows, it may read like the table of contents for a ghost town
book. Some communities have been declared such for years. These are
towns like Doole, Langtry,
Pyote and even Texas
Escapes’ mascot ghost town of Toyah.
The list (as of late July 2011) isn’t firm, but things don’t look
good for these communities. In many cases, the post offices are the
only building in town, although in three cases (Lipscomb,
Mentone and Sarita)
the closures are in county seats.
where the post office has done a brisk business every February sending
out its postmark to lovers around the world, may have to end that
long tradition. Mentone,
famous for having the least of everything in Texas may now have even
less. The post offices of Hye and
quaint reminders of a period before architectural standardization
of these once-essential buildings.
None of the smaller post offices on the list contain murals from the
30s, but the list also includes some big city closures of neighborhood
stations. One of those is the behemoth downtown post office in San
Antonio, which has one of the most elaborate historic murals in
a look at the list
and see how many communities you recognize. There’s nothing to get
excited about, unless you happen to live in one of them. Even then,
you might get cold comfort in knowing that it may just be a matter
of time before all the post
offices go the way of fix-it shops, TV repair stores and video
Ask someone under 30 when was the last time they went to a post office
– or ask someone under 20 if they have ever been in a post office.
"The building remains sans post office."
List of Post
Offices in Texas Being Considered For Closing
B: Balch Springs, Bagwell,
C: Caddo, Calliham,
Centralia, Chriesman, Christine,
D: Dallardsville, Danciger,
Deanville, Delmita, Desdemona,
E: El Indio,
G: Girard, Gober,
La Ward, Ledbetter,
City, Mound, Mumford,
N: Nolan, Novice
Glory, Orla, Ovalo.
Island, Rockwood, Roosevelt,
S: Sacul, Saliñeno,
Perlita, Santa Elena, Saragosa,
Sulphur Bluff, Sylvester.
T: Talpa, Tarzan,
, Vancourt, Vanderpool,
W: Water Valley,
Welch, Wellman, Westhoff,
Pandora" - Former Post Office tile work in Pandora
Photo courtesy Jane Garza, 2010