Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where to Move the Post Office?

Many of you know by now that the Norristown Post Office on Airy St. is being sold. With decreased postal use, the USPS no longer needs a 29,000 sq. foot building. Instead, they're looking to rent about 1800-2000 sq. feet as close to the old post office as possible. They're taking public comments for a limited time. I'll give you the contact at the bottom of this blog. It's important that you send in your comments. Make them give us what we need in a post office.

But first, a little history. Our post office was built in 1934 as one of FDR's New Deal projects. At the time, Americans needed to believe the country had a future, so New Deal post offices were built to look solid and strong, like they could stand forever. The building of the Airy Street post office put many unemployed Norristonians to work at a time when they desperately needed it.

Go inside the building and you'll find artwork by Paul Kirtland Mays. Mays was born near Pittsburgh and was known for his murals in Hollywood's grandest movie palaces when the Depression hit, ruining his career. He was glad for the invitation from the government to create murals in public buildings. Today his paintings hang in the Smithsonian. We're lucky to have 2 of his murals here in Norristown (shown below). They were completed in 1936 and are actually oil paint on canvas.

Title: "U.S. Mail"

Title: "Local Industry"

And, just as an FYI, the photo to the right  was what the Norristown post office looked like before the present one was built.

Where should our new post office be? If you ask me, I'd say right where it is. The building's new owners are going to rent space out anyway, so why shouldn't the USPS rent 2000 sq. ft. of it? They already have the service windows and post offices boxes there. No need to move them or build new ones. The other new tenants don't have to enter through the lobby--there's a door off the parking lot in the rear that would probably be more useful to them anyway.

The main problem I see is parking for the public. If you work at or near the courthouse, or even downtown (assuming you're fit enough for the climb), you can walk. If you're a PO box customer and only need a minute to run in and retrieve mail, you can use one of the spaces out front (assuming you can find one). But if you're like me, coming from farther away, and need to stand in line, are you going to choose to pay for parking, or drive the extra few minutes out to Bluebell or over to King of Prussia instead? What would be nice is if the USPS and County could come to an agreement to reserve maybe ten spaces in the lot across the street, as free parking for postal customers use only.

So that's what my public comment is going to be. Sure we could move the post office, but it has a presence and a history where it is now. And it really should be in our main business district.

If you want to make a public comment, email . I think the comment period only lasts through about mid-August, so do it now.


  1. I will continue to remind the public that there are free parking spaces on Airy Street between Green and Dekalb, so there is no need to pay for parking in front of the post office. That is less than a 5 minute walk from the post office and everyone could always use a little exercise. Don't patronize another post office you could use the one in town.

    1. Thanks. I didn't realize that block didn't have meters. Maybe because every time I've been down there, there are no spaces to be had on that block. But if you can find one, that's great, except for the elderly and disabled who'd have trouble on the hill. We at least need some free handicap spots in front of the post office. Easy to say "everyone can use a little exercise" when you're not disabled.