Old York Post Office Designed by Distinguished National Architect
Architectural drawing of York’s old post office
Wow! Once again we find we have a significant treasure right under our noses right here in York County.
Fellow blogger Jim McClure recently posted a photo, taken by Dianne Bowders, of the old York Post Office at Philadelphia and Beaver Streets. We had a brief discussion about who the architect might have been. That sent me immediately to the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives, where I found much more than I imagined.
It was suggested that it was probably a government architect. It was, but not just any old run-of-the-mill architect. York’s post office, dedicated in 1895, was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke when he was the Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury 1891-92. You can barely make out W.J. Edbrooke in the lower right corner of the drawing above.
This was the golden age of government architecture, and the Supervising Architect was the one responsible for the design of government buildings during his tenure. Most of these buildings: courthouses, federal buildings, post offices…were in larger cities. Quite a few of Edbrooke’s buildings, such as the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., have been spectacularly restored. Some are still used for their original purpose, and some have been repurposed. The Landmark Center, built as a federal courthouse in St. Paul, Minn., is now a performance center. The former post office in San Jose, Cal. is an integral part of the San Jose Museum of Art.
Many of Edbrooke’s public buildings are in the Richardson Romanesque style. Do an internet search on Edbrooke, and you will see the kinship of the other buildings to our old post office. Even though elements are shared, the buildings vary so in size and configuration that they had to be individually designed to fit the site and purpose. One source says that Edbrooke designed more than 40 buildings while Supervising Architect.
Here’s a thought:
Since the current downtown York post office at George and Princess Streets is planning to move because they have too much space, wouldn’t the old post office be a great site? If many an area had a building of this architectural importance, they would be jumping at the chance to restore it.
Not only that, but the old post office is right in the middle of the market/arts district that is making a stir. I know times are lean right now, but let’s keep an eye on the future.
Click here for more information on York’s Old Post Office.
More photos of the Old York Post Office.