Friday Flashback #10

The post offices of our imagination are solid, imposing buildings.

Certainly Westport’s was — at least, from the 1930s till a few years ago. Then the Post Road post office moved to Playhouse Square. Today it’s a cramped, crowded, crummy shell of its former self.

Saugatuck had a fine — if smaller — post office for many years. It’s now an auction house. (There is a mail drop nearby, on the corner of Franklin and Ketchum Streets. That’s a step up from the interim trailer, which squatted off Saugatuck Avenue.)

Saugatuck’s very first post office was located at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Railroad Place. Some Westporters know it as Desi’s Corner. There’s a newspaper stand there now.

Back in the day, it must have been a great post office. And — across from the bustling train station — quite a meeting spot.

(Photo courtesy of Seth Schachter)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo courtesy of Seth Schachter via Bill Scheffler)

13 responses to “Friday Flashback #10

  1. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    And this too shall pass soon as Railroad Place is repurposed.

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    When we moved to Westport in 1972, our mail carrier, a dignified, gentleman with white hair, introduced himself as “Mills”. Being at least 30 years his junior, I called him “Mr. Mills”. I would leave him tomatoes from my garden and he would leave me fresh figs from his. He told me that years before he walked the route he now drove in Greens Farms, and delivered the post twice a day. I wish I had thought to ask him more. I’m sure he had lots of tales to tell.
    This was also a time of many incidents of baseball bat mailbox vandalism. After a lot of damage, it suddenly stopped. I guess they caught whoever was responsible, but I don’t remember it being in the Westport News Police Reports which everyone I knew read with great interest every week.

    • Scott Kuhner

      Mr Mills had twins, Gail and Grover Mills. They were in the class of 1959 at Staples. When in 9th grade we all went to Miss Comer’s dancing class to learn how to do the waltz, the foxtrot the tango and to bow and thank our partner. Gail Mills was so much fun and a good dancer. I remember her father was a mailman

      • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

        I remember Gail and Grover well since I am Staples 1958! I also remember both Mr. & Mrs. Mills. They were friends of my parents. They were wonderful people. Mrs .Mills worked at Follow Florists and I used to love to watch her make corsages. I was there watching Mrs. Mills the day that Marilyn Monroe came in in blue jeans and a full length mink coat to buy flowers. Later Mrs .Mills opened her own florist shop. I think it was called Taylor Florists. She did all the flowers for our wedding. Wonderful memories of wonderful, humble, giving people. And yes Scott, none of us can ever forget Miss Comer’s. She taught us to be ladies and gentlemen. I think I remember that Mr .Mills was a WWII veteran but I might be mistaken.

    • Jacques Voris

      The Mr Mills in question would have been Lawrence Herbert Mills, born 1917 in Wesport. He married Elizabeth Church Blake, and the twins Gail and Grover were born in 1941. Lawrence’s brother, Lewis, was also a mail carrier. Their father, also named Lewis, was the first Superintendent of Sherwood Island State Park.

      • Jacques Voris

        And I forgot to mention, my cousin, Eric Neilsen, long time letter carrier / post master for the Saugatuck station, was the son of Shirley Mills.

      • Jacques Voris

        Upon consultation with a reputable source (I asked my mother), the Mr Mills that would have serviced your house Joyce was Lewis “Lewie” Mills. Not Lawrence “Larry” Mills, father of Gail and Grover. Lewis walked the Greens Farms route.

  3. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    OOps! That should be Fillow Florists.

  4. Nancy Powers Conklin

    That original Post Office by the train station, was where my father began his career as a letter carrier. He told my sister and I that he could never sit in an office all day. Wanted to be outside and moving around. He eventually moved up to the main post office in Westport center which brought him closer to home and his route along Long Lots Road. He was dedicated to his job and did it very, very well.

    • George Powers was a fantastic guy. He had our route on High Point Road. My father loved him. And George — “Nookie” — was also one of the greatest athletes in Staples High School history. And a World War II vet too, right, Nancy?

  5. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    I am really happy to see more comments. They may not directly relate to the original post but they take us back to a way of life we experienced that has gone. I think about the miles the Postmen walked with a satchel full of mail they delivered to us day in and day out regardless of weather. Thank you for the post about George Powers.
    My parents often talked about Mr. Mills and Mr. Morse and their love of being free and outside. Mr. Morse was married to Charlotte Morse (Charlotte wrote and illustrated at least one children’s book). They were neighbors of ours on Calumet Road. Mr. Morse was definitely a WWII veteran and, if my memory serves me, he had been a prisoner of war. He started a nursery. My parents often mentioned his Military service and I think Mr. Mills & Mr. Morse’ occupations and their love of being free and working outside. My “take away” was that they had been imprisoned and just loved the freedom of being outside and not confined. Again, these are run together memories of long ago in my child hood. They may not be totally accurate.

  6. Warren Bloom

    great pic !