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Queen Anne Post Office

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)

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Completed in 1965, the Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters was resoundingly larger than all other postal buildings, in both amount of stories and total square footage, to be built in the western states at the time.

Source: Washington State University Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation

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The post-war population growth of the late 1950s and 1960s resulted in an immense growth in mail volume. As well, technological advances spurred what would become the United States Postal Office (USPS) to go through major operational and organizational changes. As a result, the USPS streamlined and modernized postal delivery as a means of increase efficiency. The most memorable result of that modernization involved the 1963 creation of the modern zip code system. However, another aspect of those changes involved transferring the regional headquarters from Portland to Seattle in 1961, which prompted the design and construction of the Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters. 

Built in 1965 for $1.7 million by architect Thomas Albert Smith of seattle, the Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters exceeded all other western post offices in terms of square footage and height (stories). The Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters planned to be home to postal administration offices and also act as a mail processing station.

In 1970, the Postal Reorganization Act changed the Post Office Department to the United States Postal Service, and also removed the position of Postmaster General from the Presidential Cabinet 

Smith designed the Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters in the New Formalism Style, which emerged during 1960s as a rejection of the rigid forms common in Modernism that was in full-force at the time. In essence, New Formalism attempted to draw upon building forms of the past with needs created by modern society. New Formalist embraced Classical  styles such as building proportion and scale, large columnns, stylish entablatures, and colonnades, as well as modern touches comprised of concrete used to create forms such as umbrella shells, waffle, folded plates and precast structural members.

At a time when stores still sent catalogues, people wrote letters and sent cards, and almost all forms of bill-paying communication was done through the mail, the Queen Anne arose to meet those needs. The building demonstrates a time when society started to adapt technology as part of efficiency, but still believed in centralizing its business headquarters in large buildings located in downtown regions. 

Sources

George S. Koyl, ed. American Architects Directory. 2nd edition. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1962.

"Historic U.S. Post Offices in Washington, 1893-1941," Multiple Property Documentation (MPD), National Register of Historic Places, Sec. E, 1 (http://www.dahp.wa.gov/pages/wisaardIntro.htm)

"Queen Anne Post Office." Washington State University Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. October 25, 2010, http://www.dahp.wa.gov/blog/2010/10/october-2010-nr-whr-nominationslistings/img_0961/

Robert L. Landis. Post Offices of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Portland: Patrick Press, 1969.

Address
415 1st Ave N
Seattle, Washington 98109
Phone Number
206-282-0544
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  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
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This location was created on 2017-03-03 by Mathew Powers .   It was last updated on 2017-03-05 by Clio Admin .

This entry has been viewed 349 times within the past year

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