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May 6, 1982


PIX #1 - Fostoria's present post office, now nearly 50 years old, had addition added on west side in recent years, and other alterations and improvements.

PIX #2 - Mail trucks used by the Fostoria Post Office of earlier days, parking in front of the Reo Garage on West Tiffin Street, where Gillig Electric is today. At that time the post office was located where the VFW is now. The men in the photo were identified by Bernice Cochie, supplier of the photo as Watson Priddy, left and Dewey Schultz.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Today's article is the second nd last of a series which started last week pertaining to the history of the postal service in Fostoria.

In 1933 Fostoria got a permanent federal post office building on West Center Street, its present location. Efforts to get the building started when Herbert Hoover was president and Walter F. Brown was postmaster general. Fred M. Hopkins was postmaster and worked hard to get the new building.

Approval for the new $160,000 post office was given in February 1931, work started in September 1932, the cornerstone laid in March 1932, and completion and dedication of the building were Sept. 22, 1933.

Many Fostorians will recall the dedication ceremonies, presided over by George R. Cameron, mayor. There was music by the Fostoria High School band and Civic Melody Chrous, and a parade through the business district. Rev. C.E. Clessler of Hope Lutheran Church gave the invocation. Postmaster Hopkins spoke briefly, and the Rev. R.V. O'Connor from St. Wendelin gave the benediction.

The site of the new post office required demolition of buildings which had stood at that location for many years, being used for manufacturing purposes, including Allen Motor Co., Fostoria Machine & Tool Co. and Atlas Mfg. Co., makers of safes. Part of the building was also used for church revivals at one period of time.

Postmaster Combs remarked about changes during his time with the Fostoria Post Office. Many years ago the mail carriers reached and covered their routes entirely on foot, and there were two deliveries each day. There was less mail then, and routes were smaller. Also, there were not the new residential areas on the outskirts of town.

Today, there are 12 regular carriers and two backups. Ten of those carriers are equipped with vehicles to transport them and the mail to each respective route. They make one mail delivery per day.

In Fostoria there are 7,364 separate addresses where mail is delivered. 500 being business addresses. Combs said it takes an average of .8 minutes for the delivery of mail to each home or business. He also said the short delivery time for each address ranks high with the national average.

All applicants who think they would like to carry mail may not qualify. It takes a particular person to suit the job, and it has nothing to do with IQ, size, build, or love of the outdoors, said Combs. One of the qualifying "musts" is a good memory. Each carrier sorts the mail for his route before he leaves the post office, arranging it by streets and addresses, to facilitate delivery.

The regular and backup carriers at this time are: W.V. Affholder, W.F. Alspach, M.A. Beck, E.H. Brickner, M.D. Combs, M.J. Etzinger, B.A. Hatfield, R.G. Hottenstein, L.J. Lucius, A.W. McDonald, O.A. Overmier, D.D. Palmer, J.E. Seifert, C.E. Strausbaugh, B.L. Walter.

There are four rural routes surrounding Fostoria: R.R. 1, H.A. Dennis; R.R. 2, W.E. Hunter; R.R. 3, J.A. Pelton and R.R. 4, H.F. Boyd. Substitues for the rural routes are L.F. Deitrich, P.I. Hahn and D.J. Frankart.

The inside employees at the Fostoria Post Office consist of J.J. Smith, superintendent of operations; Terry Robinson, supervisor of mails; J.M. Brandeberry, J.V. Burns, M.J. Fox, W.E. Kramb, G.A. Russell, W.C. Steinmetz, L.J. Valenti, L.A. Willier, S.A. Wohlgamuth, full and part time clerks.

Last but not least are the custodians, L.E. Beckman and R.A. Claycomb.

Postmaster Combs took your author on atour of the facilities. Everthing is kept spotlessly clean, including the basement area, where there are lockers, restrooms, an area for break times equipped with tables and benches, and storage and boiler rooms.

Today, the whole country is zoned by the Postal Service, and each zone headquarters is a distributing center for mail. Trucks from many villages, towns and cities feed mail to the distributing center, where merchanized sorting is done and routed for its final distribution by trucks. Mansfield is the sorting/distribution center for this area.

The Postal Service is no longer exclusively for the Fostoria post office there are now five females filling jobs as city carriers, rural carriers and clerks. They are: Mary Jane Etzinger, Mary Jane Fox, Phyllis I. Hahn, Lizbeth A. Willier and Sue A. Wohlgamuth.

The first females employed at the local post office were Marsha M. Mellot and Karen Kreps in 1966. In 1977, Linda Gillespie joined the force. As this story is being finished, Cynthia Colvin was hired at the post office as a combination clerk-carrier.

Lester Ohls, a carrier, started in about 1924. When he retired he figured he had walked 86,000 miles during his 32 years of service and had worn out 64 pairs of shoes. Then he got a truck route which gave his feet some rest.

In 1957, when Floyd Smothers was postmaster, the Fostoria Post Office set a new record for handling holiday mail. From Dec. 9-24 the total cancellatiions for Christmas mail alone reached 587,981. On May 19, 1938, air mail letters left Fostoria by plane for the first time. Previously, air mail letters had gone by surface mail to the nearest airport for their skyward journey.

On that day, 150 Fostorians gathered around a small black plane at the Fostoria Country Club to watch history in the making. The plane, a black Stinson cabin monoplane, had no trouble landing or taking off on number 4 fairway, despite heavy rains the night before.

The plane was piloted by Tommy Metcalf of the Toledo airport, acting as special airmail pilot.

The mail that left Fostoria that day was two full pouches of more than 700 pieces.

Potluck thanks the following for assistance and cooperation in preparing the post office articles: Mrs. Robert McFadden, Mrs. Art Sanders, Bernice Cochie, Fred Combs, Mrs. Floyd Smothers and Kaubisch Memorial Public Library.

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