11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Historic Post Office Buildings

Year Listed: 2012
Location: Geneva, Illinois
Threat: Insufficient Protection

Partner: City of Geneva

Significance

Historic Post Office Buildings
Photo by Matthew Gilson

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service identified nearly 4,400 post offices – large and small – that it plans to study for closure. Unfortunately, city officials and local preservationists who identified new buyers or uses for endangered post offices often find themselves frustrated by a lack of information and guidance from the U.S. Postal Service.

In Geneva, developers interested in purchasing and rehabbing the downtown post office gave up because they could not get timely or clear answers from officials.

Although the U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will seek to cut costs through reduced hours of operation rather than closures, many post offices are currently shuttered and many more face uncertain futures. The U.S. Postal Service needs to define and implement a clear process that will protect the historic buildings in its inventory.

Local post office buildings have traditionally played an essential role in the lives of millions of Americans. Many are architecturally distinctive, prominently located, and cherished as civic icons in communities across the country. Unless the U.S. Postal Service establishes a clear, consistent process that follows federal preservation law when considering disposal of these buildings, a significant part of the nation’s architectural heritage will be at risk.

Opportunity

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.

Campaign Goals

      • Save the Geneva, IL post office building and use it as a model for preserving other historic post office buildings across the country.
      • Work with the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies to develop a consistent, sensitive, and transparent process that follows established federal preservation law for protecting historic post office buildings targeted for disposition.