The Penland Post Office
The Penland Post Office was established in 1879 and moved several times prior to its relocation to this building in 1934 which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the left side of the building is empty, but the Penland Post Office Project is planning to renovate the whole building and invite community members to utilize the space for artist studios, a local crafts market, an outdoor recreation outpost, or other needed businesses.
Penland Post Office
A plaque at Penland Post Office
Backstory and Context
On Nov. 1, 1879, Isaac Stewart submitted the original application for regular postal service on Milton Penland’s land. After Reconstruction, postal service had been discontinued at nearby Ledger, Wing, Estatoe and Minpro in favor of a popular system known as Rural Free Delivery. On Nov. 13 of that year, Stewart became the first postmaster. He located the office in his general store at a place on the property called Flat Rock because of a large flat rock situated there.
On July 7, 1891, the location was changed to a place then known as Henline Hill, a mile east. On the 27th, Charles Sparks became postmaster. On Nov 5, 1900, the site was moved still another mile east and on the 16th, his wife Nancy succeeded him. The sixth postmaster was James Hoilman as of October 2, 1902. On Sept. 5 of that year, the post office was moved for the fourth time to the community then known as Bailey Station on the north side of the railroad right of way and served 800 customers. This relocation changed the name of the town to Penland, where the post office is located today.
On January 22, 1908, Burges Bailey became the seventh postmaster. He was a relation of the Deer Park Baileys. Baileys Peak, which can be seen from the front post office window was named after his grandfather, John Bailey.
Many postmasters have served the Penland Post Office over the years. The current postmaster, Rebecca Davis, was selected as postmaster on December 27, 1980, and continues to serve as of the time of this entry's authorship. Davis, a native of Penland, is the great, great-granddaughter of Harriet Hensley, the second postmaster of Penland. Much of the equipment and many of the postal boxes retained from the 1879 office are still in use. Original double doors with top glass panels, two-over-two sash windows, and freight doors remain. Around 1934 a shed roof addition was built above the front and south elevations. Inside unpainted walls of wormy chestnut, covering the entire building, are still visible. Until the 1970s, the building was a combination general store and post office.