Merrill Post Office

© Photographed May 2, 2015
Merrill, Lincoln County, Wisconsin
45° 10.865′ N, 89° 41.626′ W

This property
has been placed on the
by the United States
Department of the Interior

The post office and marker are located on westbound East Second Street / Wisconsin Highway 64, at its intersection with Pier Street, at 430 East Second Street, Merrill, Wisconsin 54432.

Historic Name: Merrill Post Office
Reference No. 00001258

430 East 2nd Street, Lincoln County, Merrill, Wisconsin

Historic Name: Merrill Post Office
Other Name: United States Post Office
Reference No.: 21760
Year Built: 1915
Architectural Style: Neoclassical 

Additional Information:
This building is an example of classical/Georgian revival style. The plan is rectangular with the public entry and lobby on the second street face. The elevation is organized symmetrically about the entry which is pulled out from the face of the building for its height. This element is further highlighted by brick piers with limestone base and capitals supporting a limestone pediment. Statuary niches of limestone flank the entrance at a size equal to the two first floor front windows on either side of the central pavilion. There has been an addition of a loading dock facility to the rear of the building. This addition is built of similar materials and does not detract from the building's integrity.

The building trim including window sills, carved inset panels, and projecting cornice with dentils are of limestone foundation. The building trim including window sills, carved inset panels, and projecting cornice with dentils of limestone. The main entry door is framed with carved limestone and there are limestone niches to either side of the door. The first level windows are double hung with a 12 over 12 pane configuration and appear to be original. The second level windows, also original, are casement type windows. The windows toward the rear of the building on the side elevations have arched heads and smaller round windows above them. There are floral relief panels on each of the first floor windows in the original portion of the building. The steps leading to the entrance are granite. The cornerstone notes: "William C. Mcadoo, Secretary of the Treasury, James A. Wetmore, acting supervising architect, 1915."

The interior of the building has the original tile floor and marble wainscot. The walls are plaster with recessed surfaces and some decorating trim of plaster. There is a coffered plaster ceiling with an octagonal skylight. The door trim is marble. The building, which is in good condition, is located in the downtown business/commercial district. 
Architectural/engineering significance: 
The original components of the building are largely intact and the addition to the rear echoes the materials of the original portion. Noteworthy elements include the relief panels on the facades and leaded skylight in the lobby. The two story mass of the building also makes it noteworthy as a locally prominent structure.

No other public buildings in Merrill are of this style, and few private buildings in Merrill are of this style. 
Historic background: 
The Merrill post office was built in 1915 by the U.S. post office department, a fore runner of the present U.S. postal service. It was the first federally owned post office in Merrill, having originally been occupied in June of 1917. Prior to that time, postmasters housed the post office at various locations, either in rented space or space owned by the postmaster. The first post office in Merrill was located in the jenny hotel owned by Cyrus Stowbridge, the first postmaster. Prior to the construction of this building, the post office rented space in the Masonic temple. (see bib. Ref. B).

On June 6, 1881 the name of the post office changed from jenny to Merrill. The location of the post office also changed several times between 1859 and 1916, when the present post office was built at 430 e. Second Street. Prior to 1897 the office was near the 900 block of e. Main street, specifically on the Berard block (not extant) location in 1924 (main, northeast corner mill) near the railroad right-of-way. From 1893 to 1896 the post office was located 906 e. Main Street (not extant). With the establishment of rural delivery that year, postmaster C.N. Johnson initiated the idea of numbering rural mail boxes for faster service. He submitted his idea to the national office, who accepted and implemented the innovation across the country. In 1900 the post office was at 825 east main street (not extant), and it moved to the Masonic temple building at 916 east main street (li 32/07) by 1905, and remained there until 1917 when the new post office building was completed.

The new brick Merrill post office building contained steam heat and electric lights and cost $75,000. By 1924 the post office had a chief and assistant postmaster, seven cashiers, four clerks, and eight routes that expanded twenty-five miles into the community and countryside. The same building continues to serve as a communication hub for Merrill residents today.
The foregoing content used with gracious permission of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The building is located in Merrill, Wisconsin.

Screenshot of vintage postcard provided by
Merrill is a city of parks. Stange Park -- Wildwood Park --
Cenotaph Park and the Wisconsin and Prairie Rivers
contribute to the park-like appearance of the city.
Giant pines, rivers, lagoons, rustic bridges and wooded
shorelines make Merrill the city "beautiful."
Merrill is the Western Gateway to the world's most
concentrated lake region. Stop and linger awhile in Merrill.

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