Ceremonial mail delivery from Windsor’s first post office in Nathaniel Howard’s house to the opening of the 1941 post office.
Ben Franklin started our country’s postal system, and Windsor’s first post office was located in Nathaniel Howard’s home/store at 96 Palisado Avenue, the current Strong-Howard House shown on tours at our Society. Around 1840 Windsor’s townspeople petitioned to have the post office moved from the north side of the Farmington River into the area of today’s Windsor’s center. The following is a brief listing of recent post offices:
This brick structure still stands at 226 Broad Street, formerly the home of Windsor Donut Shop. The sign over the door in this photo reads “Post Office, Windsor, Conn.” For well over 100 years this building in the center of Windsor has been used for various commercial purposes. Built before 1900, it was first used as a store with apartments above. As was the custom at the time, it was constructed with the main entrance several steps above the unpaved and muddy street. In 1917 the first floor was lowered to the level of the sidewalk. This created a mercantile space with a higher-ceiling more conducive to the retail businesses of the day. From 1909 until 1924 it housed the town’s post office. Frederick C. Althen operated the Windsor Drug Company at 226 Broad from 1925 until his death in 1943. Since then a succession of businesses have occupied the building, and was recently the home of The Bean @226.
This building stood where the CVS Pharmacy parking lot is today, north of the present post office. It was an annex to the former Windsor House/Hotel and housed a casino and lumber yard office. Conveniently you could buy a meal or cold soda when you picked up your mail!
On the north corner of Elm and Broad Streets stood the second new building constructed specifically for dispensing mail. Its dedication on April 26, 1941 was a display of pageantry, commencing with WHS’s stagecoach making a mail delivery of specially-designed first day covers and postcards from the Society (the site of Windsor’s first post office; see top image), to 276 Broad St. There the mail was stamped with a unique cancellation mark. The stagecoach is no longer in our collections, but this building still stands and today is the home of the Raymond B. McHugh Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Our current post office on the Broad Street green was opened in October 1963, in a ceremony attended by a U.S. congressman, local ministers, the town mayor and manager, and the Chamber of Commerce. The red brick, colonial style structure was built on the site of two stately houses facing Broad Street Green, the former homes of Horace White and Dr. Aaron Pratt. The houses were taken down, but the developer was instructed to leave as many trees as possible. This building is the sixth post office in our ever-growing town.
By Connie Thomas, Administrative Assistant, Christina Vida, Curator, and Barbara Goodwin, Librarian, 2005 and 2015.
Did the 1941 post office display New Deal
Art as many in that period did; oil paintings, wood carvings, metal sculpture. Is it preserved in that building today?
Indeed! A little after the 1941 post office was first opened, artist Nena Jackson de Brennecke painted a mural called “Tobacco Growing” and three wooden relief sculptures also related to tobacco that were displayed there. This art was created under the U. S Treasury Dept’s Section of Fine Arts in 1943. When the present post office opened in 1963, the three sculptures were moved to the new building, but the mural, I believe, has been painted over. But perhaps someone affiliated with the VFW can confirm or correct me?
You can read a little more detail about that art here: http://tourwindsorct.org/historic/TobaccoReliefs/