South Pittsburg, Tennessee
The South Pittsburg, Tennessee Post Office
By: Dennis Lambert
In October 1932, U.S. Congressman, Sam D. McReynolds of Tennessee, working with the local Chamber of Commerce, convinced Congress to authorize the construction of a $75,000 modern post office building for South Pittsburg. After the implementing of an economy program by Congress, the amount of funds allocated for the new post office was cut by over half that amount.
On Wednesday, April 25, 1934, bids for the construction of the South Pittsburg federal building were opened in Washington and the St. Louis, Missouri building company of Hiram L. Lloyd Building & Construction Co. won the bid at $32,800 for a fire-proof building or $32,377 for a non-fire-proof structure. Emil C. Seiz, Jr. was the construction engineer and G.W. Stone was the Supt. of Architecture.
Congressman McReynolds wired the South Pittsburg Hustler editor, Roy M. Woodfin of the awarding of the bid and also advised him that the amount currently allocated for the post office’s construction was not enough to cover the bid amount. He advised Woodfin that he was going to discuss the matter with the director of the budget in an attempt to increase the amount of funding. This went through successfully with a new amount of $40,100 being made available. Ground was broke for the new facility on Friday, July 13, 1934 at the intersection of Elm Avenue and Third Street in block #9.
The new post office had an informal opening on Monday, April 1, 1935, after postmaster, Mrs. R.W. (Lois) McReynolds, moved equipment and postal items from the old facility to the new building on Saturday. The building was completed ahead of schedule at a final cost of $40,000.
The formal opening of the complex was postponed until Congressman McReynolds, who was unavailable due to Congress being in session, could be available. The formal dedication of the new South Pittsburg Post Office began at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 1935. The dedication’s key speaker was Congressman McReynolds with opening invocation being conducted by Reverend H. C. Salmond of the South Pittsburg Christ Church Episcopal and the benediction at the end of the formal dedication ceremony conducted by Dr. W. S. Neighbors, pastor of the South Pittsburg Methodist Episcopal Church-South. Others to speak at the dedication were: Mayor R. C. Aycock, Mrs. Joe Kirkpatrick, postmaster Mrs. Lois McReynolds, Judge William M. Ables and Mr. W. B. Wooten, of the Post Office Department in Washington and inspector in charge of local division.
The dedication ceremony was widely attended by local citizens and featured music from the Post Office Band of Chattanooga. This postal facility is still in use today (2005) after 70-years since its opening.
The South Pittsburg Post Office sits at the corner of Elm Avenue & Third Street. It was officially dedicated on April 27, 1935 and is still in use today.
Photograph Courtesy, Dennis Lambert
Prior to the construction of the South Pittsburg Post Office several structures needed to be razed. Pictured above on March 7, 1933 is the property before any demolition was started. The frame store building was a cabinet shop.
This photograph and those below are courtesy, South Pittsburg Post Office
This view looking down Third Street towards Cedar Avenue and the downtown from Elm Avenue shows many vintage automobiles parked along the street on March 7, 1933. Note the words: "NOW REMOVED" on the picture above. This building, which was once a tin shop, was also removed for the new post office.
In this March 7, 1933 picture you are looking up Elm Avenue towards its intersection with Third Street. The American Legion Hall, only six years old at the time, can be seen on the left and the First National Bank building (built 1887) is near the center of photograph. Both buildings still stand today. The frame building on the right with "NOW REMOVED" is the side of the cabinet shop pictured in the first photograph.
Southeast view of post office construction - July 31, 1934. The W.T. Walker Market and its Coca-Cola sign are pictured in background.
Northwest view of post office construction - July 31, 1934. Check out the corn in the garden. The Hustler newspaper office is now located there.
Southeast view of post office construction - August 31, 1934. The W.T. Walker market and the Fashion Shop are pictured in background.
North view of post office construction - August 31, 1934. The American Legion Hall is in background.
Front view of post office construction, which is taking shape - November 30, 1934. The structure is just about ready for the installation of the windows and doors.
Rear view of post office construction - November 30, 1934. Caption on back of photograph reads: "Bill Hogwood borrowed mules from Robert Wynne's daddy to dig basement."
Northwest view showing rear of post office during construction - December 31, 1934.
Front view of post office construction - February 1, 1935.
Rear view of post office construction - February 1, 1935.
Front view of post office - February 28, 1935; finishing touches are in the works!
Rear view of post office - February 28, 1935; finishing touches are in the works!
Special thanks to Joyce Berry, South Pittsburg Postmaster, for sharing these great images, which had been locked away for years in a vault at the post office.
View of reinforcement bar and forms for new post office construction - August 30, 1934.
Another view of reinforcement bar and forms for new post office construction - August 30, 1934.
Front view of post office construction - October 31, 1934. Brick exterior walls are up. It is a shell only!
Rear view of post office construction - October 31, 1934. Brick exterior walls are up.
Southeast view showing front and side of post office during construction - December 31, 1934. Front porch and steps being formed.
1962-Photograph showing the front and side of the South Pittsburg, Tennessee Post Office.
1962-Photograph showing the rear and opposite side of the South Pittsburg, Tennessee Post Office.
Southeast view of post office construction - September 29, 1934. The vault walls are formed.
North view of post office construction - September 29, 1934. The vault walls are formed.
Page last updated October 29, 2005