Post Office Destiny

As you can see - our last blog post in 2014 was about saving our old City Hall Building and the historic Post Office...  Unfortunately, the City Hall building was lost to the wrecking ball - but we can still save the Post Office building! Below you will find the transcript of the open letter to the Roseville City Council - presented by Christina Richter, President of the Roseville Historical Society at the City Council Meeting on July 11, 2018.

July 11, 2018

Good Evening Council Members,

The Roseville Historical Society was formed in 1983 with the mission to protect, preserve and promote the history of Roseville. Because of this mission we are frequently the first place our citizens go to understand what is happening with our historic structures.

At this time I would like to make a statement on behalf of the Roseville Historical Society about the potential sale of the historic post office on Vernon Street.

Numerous postal buildings are listed with the National Register of Historic Places and many postal buildings, such as ours on Vernon Street, house works of art from the postal arts collections.

Roseville’s post office on Vernon Street was the first federally owned building in Roseville with construction completed in 1935. Since the demolition of the historic city hall building it is the only remaining depression era city structure in Roseville.

The Great Depression era was a hugely difficult time and our little town of Roseville was deeply affected:

            -The railroad laid off 200 people and cut wages by 10% for those who remained.

            -Businesses closed leaving over 200 families in dire straits.

Our city leaders at the time, your predescessors, worked quickly and thoughtfully to make the most impactful, positive decisions for the community possible.

            -They lowered taxes

            -They started a relief fund with $1,000

            -They took over the garbage system

            -They purchased the Roseville Water Company

These actions helped to lay the positive foundation for how well our citizens and government interact.

When President Roosevelt created his New Deal and the Works Projects Administration, hope was offered to the nation. Here in Roseville hope was offered by way of a pledge of $200,000 in improvements. Both our city hall improvements and a brand new post office were part of this hope.

The post office, now the last of our depression era buildings, represents milestones and important movement all throughout our city’s history. Much has happened here in this block since the 1930s. This is the hub of our city.

This past February, the president of the Placer County Historical Society wrote a letter to this council and our city manager stating that our Post Office building had “significant architectural integrity and community social significance” and offered to provide a historic plaque that would be part of a larger project honoring the county’s remaining Depression Era buildings. Her offer was turned down.

Our community is also concerned about the Post Office and its possible destruction, some remarks about this on social media include:

            “When I was in 5th grade I wrote an essay and listed the Post Office as my favorite bulding in Roseville. I won first place! It is still one of my favorites.”

            “The people making decisions are likely not old Rosevillians…”

            “More demolition of Roseville’s past on Vernon Street…. It is sad that Vernon Street is a shell of its former past.”

            “We need to keep the old post office. …We keep tearing down perfectly good buildings and replacing them with modern looking buildings that do not fit in with downtown Roseville.”

The Downtown Specific Plan, which concluded almost ten years ago in 2009, accepts that the post office is “historically significant but not a historical structure.” The Historical Society asks if an actual professional historian deemed the building ineligible for national registry status?  From what we understand, that is what is required to officially deem a building a historical structure or not. Also, given that the plan is nearly ten years old, new guidelines and rules no doubt apply.

All of this being said as you go forward with your decision this evening the Roseville Historical Society requests two important things:

1)      If you do decide to take away this invaluable part of Roseville’s history then give back to Roseville’s history in an equal measure.

2)      Ensure that the building that replaces our historic post office is a worthy successor. The Downtown Specific Plan illustrates a beautiful building on the 300 block that was clearly a nod to our history. Unfortunately the new building at 316 Vernon Street looks nothing like what the Downtown Specific Plan illustrates.

I thank you for your time and consideration. As always, myself or any of our board members are available for conversation and we welcome the interaction.

Sincerely,

Christina Richter

President, Roseville Historical Society