Old Post Office
Tour Stop 16
Old Post OfficeA lot of history has happened right here, and this is at least the fifth building to sit on this site. Sixth, if you count a bandstand that was here between Courthouse #4 and the Post Office building you see here today.
The first courthouse was a 1- story log building about 200 square feet in size built in 1829 for $49.75. It was replaced in 1837 with a 1-story brick building nearly 50 times bigger, and then replaced again by a 2-story brick building ten times bigger than that in 1854. This courthouse was burned in 1862, but luckily someone had the presence of mind beforehand to take out all the records and hide them in a cave southeast of town.
Rebuilding was slow after the Civil War, but a new 2-story brick courthouse was built in 1869 by Scotsman Alexander Hendry. Once again becoming too small, and damaged by storms, it was demolished in 1904.
For the next several years this area was a city park with bandstand, until the city decided to use the land instead for a new Federal post office. That's the building you see here today, completed in 1911, designed by James Knox Taylor, supervising architect for the U.S. Treasury Department.
But you wouldn't be able to see it, if the Urban Renewal Authority had had its way in the 1970's. Thankfully, 5,000 concerned citizens petitioned to save the building and then got it listed on the National Register which meant that Federal funds could not be used to tear it down.
In 1977 the building was purchased by Donald and Edna Bumpass with historic covenants that prevent any alteration to the exterior. The grounds are now a city park which is renowned for its flowers and land- scaping.
The interior was converted into a restaurant which has a huge mural by local artist Jane Garrison that goes all around the inside and features local resi- dents and personalities. Restaurants here have included Hog City, Sodie's and Urban Table.
Photo Courtesy of: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History / Washington County Historical Society Collection (P-3859)
History provided by: Gary Coover, Coover Consultants