Oct. 10, 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the Postal Service here in Menomonie. The U.S. Post office at 235 Main Street is a one-story brick neoclassical building designed by Oscar Wenderoth.
The building is central to the downtown district and is located near the Mabel Tainter Memorial building, thus making its block one that is devoted to public service structures.
On Oct. 10, 1913, Postmaster Marks broke ground for the building to begin construction. A month later, the basement walls were completed, and they were waiting for Spring of 1914 to complete the foundation. It was said that the Menomonie post office was a "model convenience with ample capacity to meet the demands likely to be put on its services."
However, with increasing demands in the late 1950s, the building had to be enlarged. Although it has been added onto at the rear, its structure still maintains its original façade. The building has classical framed rectangular windows, and the Doric order metope and triglyph frieze over the main entrance. The trim of the building is granite and limestone to contrast the red brick wall surfaces.
The first post office in the area, however, was established in 1849 at the Gilbert Creek Mill where Samuel Gilbert was appointed postmaster. Gilbert's Mill also served as a stagecoach stop on the route from Black River Falls to St. Anthony Falls in Minnesota.
Prior to this date, the post office serving the Menomonie area was located at Praire du Chien. In 1855, the post office moved from Gilbert's Mill and was reestablished in the office of the Knapp, Stout & Company.
Over the years, with postal services growing and the demands getting higher, so have the prices. Nowadays there's news about the postal services discontinuing Saturday and first-class mail.
Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe said, "The Postal Service lost nearly $16 billion last year and by making this cut, it will save us about $2 billion a year with this change".
Most of us look in our mailbox every day hoping to get some level of personal correspondence, and the last thing we want to see are bills. Congress, however, still has to OK the matter which was further discussed last summer with no resolution. For right now, though, we're just happy to celebrate the 100th year of our hometown post office in one location.
Sarah Simmons, a professional communications major at UW-Stout, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.