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1929 – 513 1st Street

map showing location of building

The building we see today was purpose-built under government guidelines by George Brown of the adjacent Brown & Holter Chevrolet car dealership. Postal workers moved everything into the building over the weekend of January 5, 1929.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

What was here before? There were two wood-frame buildings that had been occupied at times by a saloon, doctor’s office, public library, and a gunsmith. Those buildings, along with the rest of the block, were destroyed by the fire of April 18, 1889.

Map showing building on the block
#29 - #31 are the buildings where 513 is today.

In 1891, Benjamin F. Curtis dug out and built a basalt stone foundation for a building he never erected. Curiously, the foundation had a space for an entry door and windows facing the street — these were below street grade even in 1891 when the street level may have been a foot or so lower.

Map showing buildings and foundation on block
#27 is the bassalt stone foundation built by Mr. Curtis, 1891.

The new 25 by 75-foot Post Office was built on top of that abandoned foundation.

Newspaper article announcing new post office.
27 August 1928

The building was made of brick and tile with an ornamental brick and stucco front façade and a loading dock at the rear. Postmaster, Willis Swank, members of the postal force, and carpenters worked into the night on Saturday, so that mail was delivered from the new facility on Sunday morning, January 5th.

The building underwent a major repair in 1955, with a particular focus on reinforcing and refinishing the floor. The refurbishing did not address the fundamental issue, that by the late 1940s, the building was simply too small to handle the volume of mail. It took until 1959 to get the federal postal service board to approve a new building, and the Post Office moved to its current quarters at 224 2nd Street in 1960.

Lloyd Huse, a postal employee for more than 40 years retired August 31, 1958. When Lloyd began his postal career he worked for two weeks without pay, learning the job, and then went on to a salary of $900 a year. In 1958 a beginner started at $2.00 an hour, worked just 40 hours a week, and had annual leave and other benefits.

"We didn't know what an eight-hour day was in 1918."

Lloyd Huse

After the post office moved, the building was used as storage for the car dealership, housed an electronics company, was Antonio’s Deli & Restaurant (1990-1995),

followed by a pawn shop (1997-1999), an appliance repair business (2000-2007) Cheney Delights ice cream parlor (2007-2009),

then for a decade as Doug Nixon’s Insurance office (2009-2019),

Postcard aerial view of business blocks looking west
Carlene Hardt, Silver Fox Media image 2018

followed by Touchstone Realty (2020-2023), and in April 2023, home to The Wellness Vault.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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We are operated completely by volunteers and through your donations. We receive no government funding for our operations. All of your donations go to funding our efforts to research and preserve our history, and most importantly, share the stories with you both at the museum and beyond its walls.