NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 2, 2013

Remembering when the post office came to town

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, many people complained about the U.S. Postal Service. Many of their complaints were recorded facts.

The postal system was antiquated and was not serving the public properly. However, it seemed to turn its back on the complaints. The government did nothing about the complaints because it did not have the cost of needed manpower. And so, people continued to be disgruntled and complaints grew worse.

Many of the post offices were in shambles; others were located in distant places, hard to find or reach, all due to political appointments and political power of the times. For example, there were post offices located in the outskirts of town, where few lived, or on the second and third floors of buildings that had no elevators. Many were being operated by people due to their political affiliation.

People began taking notice of the sorrowful situation. Hence, post offices were known to close. They would shut down practically overnight and people would find they’d actually reopened in a new area — depending on how the political wind was blowing that term. They seemed to be involved in the country’s politics, which delayed their growth of developing into bigger and better post offices.

Some letters did not get mailed or weren’t processed through the mail for years. We’ve all heard stories of people receiving mail 10, 20, 30 and more years later. It was a political post office mess.

So when President Franklin D. Roosevelt got elected, he demanded the government do something about the mess in the post office system. Yet, his pleas for financial aid were repeatedly denied and the situation grew worse and worse.

The main point was that the labor to rebuild thousands of post office buildings countrywide during the darkest days of the Depression was unthinkable. It was just too expensive.

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