Happy President's Day!
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Well Now It's Old Post Office
At 315 feet, the Old Post Office is one of the tallest buildings in DC. Opened in 1899, it's not really that old, even by DC standards. But it has always been surrounded with local legend and lore. The day the building opened, the Postmaster of the District of Columbia fell to his death down an elevator shaft. After that auspicious start, it didn't serve as a post office for very long. In 1914, the main post office was relocated, and, at only 15 years of age, it was suddenly the Old Post Office. As the building fell to disuse and disrepair, it was scheduled for demolition. At least one good thing came of the Great Depression--Congress didn't have the money to tear it down. It was used for federal offices for a while, then scheduled for demolition again in the early 70s, when a campaign of local citizens managed to save, restore, and get the building listed on the historic registry. And in 1976, when Great Britain gave replicas of the Westminster Bells to Congress to mark the bicentennial, they were installed in the tower. Now you can visit The Old Post Office museum, tour it's tower, and even eat in perhaps the worst food court in DC.