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Post Office Studying Need for Five Downtown Stations; 50 Years Ago Postal Business was Booming

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, at 07:36AM
Post Office - 719 S. Spring Los Angeles Examiner / USC Digital Archives [digitallibrary.usc.edu]

The Metropolitan Station of the Postal Service operated at 719 S. Spring from 1935 to 1953. When it opened a 16-window expansion in 1948, the 24-hour station was selling nearly $4 million in stamps annually.

Five Downtown locations are among the 3,700 that the U.S. Postal Service intends to study as part of a "retail optimization" effort designed to reduce the service's office footprint in an age where less of its business takes place inside an actual post office.

Among 112 California locations on the list are post offices at 5th and Spring, City National Plaza, California Plaza, 7th and Kohler, and the federal building at 300 N. Los Angeles.

In a press release explaining the study, USPS says that 35% of its business now comes from services offered by other retailers and its website.

It wasn't always this way. 50 years ago, Downtown was one of the Postal Service's busiest areas.

When the Metropolitan Station at 719 S. Spring opened a 16-window expansion in October of 1948, it was touted as the only post office west of the Mississippi to be open 24-hours, including Sundays and holidays. In the previous year the station had sold $3.8 million in stamps—nearly as much as the entire city of San Diego.

At the time, Downtown businesses received their mail four times daily. Helicopters made eight round trips daily from the Terminal Annex by Union Station to LAX, carrying 400 to 450 pounds of mail each flight.

The good times didn't last long, though. In 1950, deliveries were cut in half to two times each day. By the time the Metropolitan Station moved to 901 S. Broadway in 1953, it was only open until 8pm, though still seven days a week.

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