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Designated Landmarks

W.P.A. Post Office
501 5th Avenue

Landmark Designation: 1988

Construction Date: 1936

Architectural Style: Renaissance

In 1862, the post office was established at the settlement of Burlington, which was on the route of the daily overland mail from St. Joseph to San Francisco. At that time, about 20 days were required for a letter to reach California from Missouri. In 1871, the Burlington post office was moved to the Chicago-Colorado Colony where a building had been constructed especially for it by the Colony. The name of the post office was officially changed to Longmont in 1873. The post office was operated in connection with Royal M. Hubbard's grocery store from 1872 until 1886. In 1886, J.J. Topliff succeeded Mr. Hubbard as postmaster and moved the office to his drug store. The site was again changed in the late 1890's, this time to 325-27 Main Street, under the administration of Capt. O.W. Richardson, Civil War veteran. Around 1910, the post office was transferred to the St. Vrain Block (now the American Legion Building) at the southeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Main Street, where it remained until the W.P.A. Post Office opened in 1936.

This building represents efforts of the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) in Longmont. It is the most visible local symbol of the Federal Government's efforts to provide economic relief to the nation during the Great Depression. In 1933, the Roosevelt Administration initiated the National Recovery Act. One facet of this program was to stimulate industrial production by pouring money into the economic life of the nation through a program of public works. $80,000 was authorized for the Longmont post office project under the Emergency Construction Act of June 19, 1934, which was part of the W.P.A. program.

The W.P.A. Post Office building was dedicated on Saturday, May 16, 1936. Only two postmasters served at this location. Mrs. Adkisson had become postmaster on May 7, 1934 when she succeeded Hugh L. Large and she served for 15 years. Vance E. Neighbors was appointed postmaster on July 1, 1949, serving until 1977.

The postal office was transferred from the W.P.A. building to its present location at 2nd Avenue and Coffman Street during the fall of 1976.

HPC 1988-4