Adaptive Reuse for Historic Post Offices
Can you imagine a historic post office as a residential home? I can. The US Postal Service needs to cut expenses and this may well be an opportunity to create a cool home. Or a small shop. Coffee house. Cafe. Legal office. Literary loft. What other uses can you think of for a historic post office? What would you use the post office boxes for? Would you incorporate them into the adaptive reuse design? And how about the mural?
“Find a new use for the Geneva post office so that it will continue to be a vital part of the historic downtown. Work with the U.S. Postal Service and other agencies to save historic post office buildings across the country.”
I’m afraid the few times I’ve used a ZIP code recently have been for credit card validation or online, to locate a retail outlet near me. The vast majority of mail envelopes that I open are done so with a double click.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation describes historic post office buildings as National Treasures, put them on their list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and hired me to document 60134, located in Geneva Illinois. The building is like much of the real mail that arrives at my studio: battle worn but mostly intact, and occasionally hiding a beautiful surprise.
Painted in 1940 by Manuel Bromberg, the WPA mural is titled “Fish Fry in the Park.”