Dillsburg, PA, Post Office

Object Spotlight
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Dillsburg post office Postmaster sign

Post offices are the heart of numerous small towns and rural communities. Whether located in tall, distinguished buildings in the middle of town or nestled away in a small, rural country stores, post offices bind citizens to each other and to their government. For many rural Americans, sending a letter or picking up the day’s mail remains a cherished opportunity to chat and catch up on local news, take a break, or even play a game of checkers.

wooden modular post office  originally from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
This modular post office is originally from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

Post office structure from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania »

This post office was in operation in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania from 1913 to 1971. The town’s first post office opened in 1816, seventeen years before the town was incorporated. In 1913, the postmaster moved the operation to a three-story building at the corner of York and Baltimore streets, where the post office occupied half of the ground floor. The lobby was separated from the mail room by these mass-produced oak sections. The prefabricated panels were purchased and assembled by postmasters to fit the available floor space. These panels were produced by the Federal Equipment Company of New York, New York and Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Dillsburg post office lock boxes
Dillsburg post office lock boxes

Panels chosen for the Dillsburg post office included one with a designated “Money Order” window, another for “Registry” mail and a third for "General Delivery." The post office door was marked “Postmaster” and “private.” A separate section offered brass drops for letters, papers and packages. Finally, the postmaster also included a section fitted with 108 rental lock boxes that allowed patrons to pick up their mail even if the postmaster or clerks were off duty.

Although lockbox fees were retained by fourth-class postmasters, they were not a major source of revenue. It is, instead, the presence of the post office in their stores, ensuring a regular customer presence, that encourages a steady source of income for small town postmasters.

The Dillsburg, Pennsylvania post office is on display in the National Postal Museum.

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The title windows for these panels were lovely glass pieces announcing the use of each space. In this instance, the Postmaster’s window.
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This window piece announced the panel’s purpose as the General Delivery window.
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The General Delivery window included an iron grate clerks could move in order to receive or deliver packages.
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This panel was used for customers who preferred to purchase locked post office boxes.
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A close-up view of some of the postal lock boxes in the Dillsburg post office.

Written by Nancy A. Pope