US Post Office--Okanogan Main - Okanogan, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 48° 21.878 W 119° 34.773
11U E 308944 N 5360043
Quick Description: A legacy of the New Deal and the WPA, the Okanogan Post Office is nearly unique in the Northwest, sharing its style with only one other post office in the environs.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 7/10/2018 8:42:14 PM
Waymark Code: WMYQBB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

Long Description:
Touted as an interpretation of the American Colonial style, this, and the post office in Okanogan's sister city, Omak, are the only two of the type in the Northwest. Two storeys in height, the brick building, along with the town's Spanish Mission style county courthouse, are the two most imposing buildings in Okanogan. Built as a combination Post Office and Federal Building housing forest service, soils office, and other agencies, this explains its larger than normal size for a medium sized town post office.

The cornerstone for the building was dutifully laid by the Masons on September 20, 1940, the $147,000 building continuing in service in the Okanogan County Seat to this day.

US Post Office--Okanogan Main

The building is the city's first and only Federally-constructed post office. A large building for such a small community (Okanogan, with a 1940 population of l,732, was the smallest city in the state to receive a Federal building) and nearly twice the size of the Omak Post Office (Omak's 1940 population was 2,918), the Okanogan Federal Building symbolizes the importance of the city as a governmental center for the vast, isolated region of north central Washington. The building is also a legacy of the Federal government's massive public building programs of the Depression era. Finally, it represents the efforts of local citizens through their elected officials in Washington to secure a Federally-constructed post office for their city.

September 20, 1940 was a big day for the citizens of Okanogan. Thousands of people jammed the area around the federal building as the Masons performed their ancient rite; the first time ever in Okanogan. The cornerstone was laid, Mayor Clair Ward spoke, and "America" was sung. Okanogan had received both recognition from and a formal symbol of the federal government.

In April a $21,118 WPA school grounds improvement project was approved. And on May 14th The Independent reported that Okanogan would get a $147,000 federal building if Congress passed the emergency spending bill and if the Post Office Department got the PWA funds it requested...

..."Federal Building Allocated Here By Postmaster Gen'1" headlined the Independent on July 5th. A message had been received from Congressman Leavy that the federal building, which had been "in line" for several years and would include the post office, forest service, soils office, and other agencies, had been approved.

"Federal Building Site Selected" told a headline of October 8th; a site at 2nd and Oak offered by B. E. Gregory for $4,000 had been selected. Congressman Leavy had visited the site and was pleased with the choice. Three days later the paper confirmed the site selection; the site had been discussed at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The Boardman Building would be removed and it was noted that, while there was no information yet, from the size of the allocation it would be the biggest federal building in north central Washington outside of Wenatchee. On November 5th it was reported that construction was not expected until the next Spring.
From the NRHP Registration Form

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Street address:
212 Second Avenue North
Okanogan, WA United States

County / Borough / Parish: Okanogan

Year listed: 1991

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Politics/Government, Architecture

Periods of significance: 1925-1949

Historic function: Government - Post Office

Current function: Government - Post Office

Privately owned?: no

Hours of operation: From: 9:00 AM To: 5:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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