MONTE VISTA - Monte Vista is home to many beautiful and historic buildings including its post office. With its stately white columns, and wooden framed glass doors it almost makes you feel like you’ve walked back in time. The cornerstone of the two-story, red bricked, post office was set in 1932. The building it is said was built as a part of the WPA ( Work in Progress Administration) during the Great Depression. The cost to build it was $150,000.
Today the old original P.O. boxes are still used by the community of Monte Vista. It’s fun to wonder about the history those boxes have held over the last 88 years. How many love letters, or newspapers bearing headlines about historic events such as WWII passed through them?
The current post office is not Monte Vista’s first post office. According to the history book by Emma M. Riggenbach entitled: “A Bridge to Yesterday,” Monte Vista’s first postmaster was Henry G. Henderson and he was appointed to the position when the town was still called Lariat, on Aug. 5, 1881. The book does not say where the post office was located at that time, but his successor was Lillian Loretta Taylor. Taylor was given the job on Jan. 24, 1882. She served as the postmistress throughout three name changes for the town, as it went from Lariat to Henry to finally Monte Vista.
“Her first post office was in her frame store building in an area where Fullenwider Park is located. This was in 1882,when the town was called Lariat. That year she became the wife of Charles Fassett and in 1885 moved to the frame store building on First and Adams Street. The post office was housed in the back of the store. The town of Lariat was renamed Henry. She was appointed first postmistress when Henry became Monte Vista in 1886,” writes Riggenbach in her book.
In 1887 Fassett resigned from her position as the postmistress. Afterward the post office moved across the street to the north side of First Avenue to the Weiss Chapman Drug Store. John Heilman was then appointed postmaster.
The post office was moved again and was placed on First Avenue where the Monte Vista Bank was later located. It was at that location for many years, until in 1912 when a fire broke out in the building. The post office was then moved to a red brick building on Jefferson Street.
Finally, it was moved to its current location when they began construction on the building in 1932.
Eight-eight years later it still serves its community of Monte Vista. Today the Monte Vista postal employees make 3,663 stops on their mail routes.
A special thanks to the Monte Vista post office for their help with this article.
In the Monte Vista Post office there are catwalks high in the ceiling. In the old days Post Office inspectors used the catwalks that have peep holes cut into the ceiling to watch the employees and make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to. The pictured door is one among others they could use to access the hidden walkways. This particular door was located in what used to be the Postmaster’s restroom next to his office. He could close the door climb up the ladder and access the catwalks above where the mail was sorted. The workers had no way to know if he was working I his office or watching them. However, the catwalks are no longer used and have not been used for that purpose for many decades as it is no longer allowed by Unions.