Saturday, September 6, 2014

SUCCESS!!! Check out what the Berlin, PA Historical Society had....

Berlin, PA - Berlin Area Historical Society

Remember a few days ago when we met the last Postmaster of the Fairhope Post Office, Bob Platt? Well, he had suggested that we go to the town of Berlin, PA and visit the historical society there on Saturday.

So at 9:30 am this morning we saw Bob walking down Main street in Berlin and headed to the Berlin Area Historical Society main office.

OMG - I was so excited to discover that the office had the ORIGINAL Post Office DOOR and the Post Office WINDOW with the mailboxes from my great-great-grandfather, George W. Ordner's Post Office and Store in Fairhope PA.

WOW! It was so cool to be able to touch the very wood, open the money drawer and unlock the package window that existed 150 years ago in his store. He touched it every day!

The U.S. Postal Service donated the pieces to the Berlin Area Historical Society in 1996. These had been moved from GWO's post office at the time that the new post office was built across the tracks. When they remodeled the post office in 1996, these moved to Berlin.

Here I am, opening the package door to accept
packages from postal customers. The counter top
was full of carved writings...mostly illegible.
Courtesy of the Berlin Area Historical Society, Berlin PA.

This is the mail boxes where customers would have
checked for mail to pick up, placed their letters to mail
and purchased stamps.
Courtesy of the Berlin Area Historical Society, Berlin PA

The painted U.S. Post Office shield. John McLane was a furniture
maker who started making cabinets for the Postal Service in 1876.
George, likely purchased these mailboxes and the door around that time
to create the Post Office in his store.
Courtesy of the Berlin Area Historical Society, Berlin PA
Behind the mail boxes. There were doors to close  the Post Office
and a drawer to hold the money and stamps. The post boxes had wires
across the bottoms and brass numbers on each.
Courtesy of the Berlin Area Historical Society, Berlin PA
The gentlemen at the office, President James (Jim) Suder and Treasurer, Stewart Saylor were extremely helpful in answering my questions and helping to look for information. We discovered some additional photos of the Fairhope area and the nearby Glencoe area where GWO's Uncle George E. Ways was the postmaster.

Bob Platt also later emailed me a more recent photo of the Fairhope Post Office than the ones I had found previously. In this photo, the upper porch was gone and awnings were in its place. Not sure the date that this was taken, but it was attributed to Joseph Lowry, who was the general store owner and postmaster in 1908.

Fairhope Post Office.
Photo courtesy of Robert G. Platt,
current Postmaster in Fairhope, 2014.
After this unbelievable find in Berlin, PA, Jeff and I headed to Somerset to get a bite to eat. We stopped at a few antique stores and I found a great item to take home - a 54 drawer oak chest. (I'd post a photo, but when we made it back to the campsite it was pouring rain so we left it in the car. No photos yet!)

Today was a great day and I am excited to see what else we might uncover on our travels! Tomorrow, Sunday, we are heading out of the Rocky Gap Campground and to Bull Run Campground in Manassas, VA to be our home spot for next week. The plan for next week is:

  • to visit the National Archives and the Postal Museum in DC
  • Visit more battle sites - 2 where GWO was wounded, one rather severely
  • Visit Harper's Ferry - GWO's cousin played a major role in the history there in 1859
  • And visit the Civil War Medical Museum in Frederick
  • Then finally to see friends in Pennsylvania and visit Gettysburg.
Going to be a great week! Keep checking back...

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