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Where To Get Post Office Building Dates?

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 11 / Views: 276Next Topic  
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Posted 12/04/2021   9:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Letterpress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all – How can I find out when a modern post office was built? None of my searches on Google and DuckDuckGo have borne fruit. I'd like to know when the current post office in Oracle, Arizona was built – the year would be enough. I expected to find a simple database or listing, but so far I haven't found it. It's been easier to learn about very old post offices in Oracle than the current building.

The post office is at 905 E American Ave, Oracle, AZ 85623. Oracle is in Pinal County, and I've looked up the county assessor records for the parcel, but it only gives tax info for the last few years, with no record of construction. I think it opened in the 1980s, but I'm not sure. The Postal History Foundation is actually based in Tucson, but their website strangely doesn't seem to have any content – it looks like it might just be a physical library that you have to visit in person, and which is mostly closed at the moment: https://postalhistoryfoundation.org

Any ideas on how to get post office construction dates in general, or this one in particular?

Thanks.
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Posted 12/04/2021   10:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are several issues with finding this info. One is that the USPS does not build all of their facilities. In fact that is not the norm anymore. They enter into lease and rental agreements with very little design/build functions. They may also enter into agreements wherein they agree to lease a facility built specifically for them by a private entity for X number of years.

Your best bet for construction data are Municipal Building Departments which will have permit and inspection records which should be accessible to the public.

For USPS contract solicitation information visit SAM.gov (used to be fedbizops.gov)
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Posted 12/04/2021   10:08 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would sign up for a free trial at newspapers.com and then search the local newspapers around Oracle, Arizona. Note: the free trial does not include their entire database of newspapers but the search will at least give you a good idea if the post office was in news or not.
Don
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Posted 12/04/2021   10:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Quite obvious, the first thought is to ASK the postmaster there.

One of the challenges of post office data is that some buildings are government owned but most are now rented. For many years, "The Postal Bulletin" listed "site changes", which is an effective date of a move. For more specialty dates like ground-breaking or cornerstone laying ceremonies, etc., one would likely have to seek the information locally. Beyond the local postmasters, many local public libraries keep "community information" files of topics like "post offices". Newspaper are also a good source of community news through sites like newspapers.com

Add: as everyone replies similarly at once! LOL

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Edited by John Becker - 12/04/2021 10:14 pm
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Posted 12/04/2021   10:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Studebaker, I subscribe to Newspapers.com, but haven't had any luck there. Their coverage of Arizona is awful, especially anything after the 1920s outside of Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. They don't have the local paper in Oracle, which was the San Manuel Miner.
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Edited by Letterpress - 12/04/2021 10:31 pm
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Posted 12/05/2021   3:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the Oracle post office currently has a postmaster, I doubt they'd know. If they thought they knew, it's roughly even odds that their answer will be incorrect. In my experience, USPS employees very often don't know basic things, like what a precanceled stamp is, or the rules and rates for their own products. And they also often give false information (like how they keep pushing the myth that any and all bubble mailers or chipboard mailers are "packages", not reading their own DMM since 2007 or so with the new Flats rate category and physical standards).

Also, I don't think reaching the Postmaster is possible without traveling to Oracle and walking in. None of the numbers the USPS website gives have ever resulted in successful contact with a human, including the purported direct line to a given post office. If you call the Oracle post office, or any other post office I've called in the last few years, all that will happen will be infinite ringing. There's no voicemail. There's not even a recording with their hours, say if you call outside of those hours (try calling right now, on a Sunday, and you'll see). It just rings forever. And calling 1-800-ASK-USPS does not result in any sort of opportunity to ask anyone anything – it's fully impossible to reach a person anywhere in their phone tree. They'll just dead-end you down every branch... It's an awful organization to deal with, and I try to avoid dealing with them as much as possible.

I figured there would be a list somewhere. I've reviewed the last Official Postal Guide, from 1953, but it only lists post offices as existing, by county and state. There's no born-on date. The history and exact location of Oracle post offices from the early 1900s to maybe WWII is hazy. There are docs about the late 1800s, but not much since then. The current post office was likely built-to-suit. It's privately owned, but I'm pretty sure it was built to be a post office, given the layout I remember, and the building did not exist previously as anything else. Oracle residents don't get mail delivered to their homes – they have to use P.O. boxes, so the building needed to fit plenty of wall area for all those boxes, maybe over 1,000.
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Edited by Letterpress - 12/05/2021 3:55 pm
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Posted 12/05/2021   4:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You ask for our advice and then certainly have lots of reasons why none of it is any good.

I would point out that I said to "ASK" the postmaster. I did not specify a particular contact method. Since you don't seem to be able to succeed with a phone call, why not write to them? And yes, I agree, there is not likely a true "postmaster" there, but rather an officer-in-charge or some other management title. Either way, they likely know something about the past rental agreements there, etc., or could put you in touch with an old-time retired postal employee from there. I cannot believe getting one small piece of information is as difficult as you describe.

At some point we tend to drift away and leave you on tour own to solve your own problems.
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Posted 12/05/2021   5:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Despite the ever-present American flags flying above all United States post offices, the United States Postal Service actually owns only 3,691 buildings. The remaining 28,743 post offices in the United States are leased from other owners.


https://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/05/...-office.html
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Posted 12/05/2021   5:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mml1942 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This report page might help you.

Owned Building Report
https://about.usps.com/who/legal/fo...cilities.htm
It has an occupancy date, which may correspond with the construction date. I know it does for the two post offices in towns where I lived.

Also this Leased Facility Reports by state:
https://about.usps.com/who/legal/fo...cilities.htm

Unfortunately it does not give a construction date, only the date the building was last leased.

Once upon a time, I had a list like this for Texas that included the construction dates, but it was the result of a Freedom of Information Act and not on-line.

Mike
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Posted 01/21/2022   6:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the links, mml1942. The one in Oracle is leased. We finally got ahold of the Postmaster, and she didn't know... The USPS just keeps setting lower and lower expectations. They'd be a great organization to research for monopoly dynamics, government agency performance issues, etc. – I wonder if any researchers have dug into it. Usually they look at private sector organizations.

Becker, you said to contact the Postmaster, and you made excuses for their unreachability, but we finally got ahold of them and they didn't know. This is a situation where you should be blaming the USPS, not blaming the person trying to get info.
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Posted 01/21/2022   7:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Letterpress, Pardon me for trying to help. I will make a note NEVER to attempt to help you again.
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Posted 01/21/2022   10:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add percyjgp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
905 E American Ave, Oracle, AZ is an office bldg property that contains 4,368 Sq. Ft. sq ft and was built in 1986.
Parcel #
308-03-112
Lot Size
46,174 Sq. Ft.
Property Type
Office Bldg (General)
County
PINAL
Living Area Sq. Ft.
4,368 Sq. Ft.
Year Built
1986
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