Lehigh Valley

Allentown Post Office building will be protected in perpetuity thanks to write-in campaign

The appraiser for the Allentown Post Office says there have been several offers on the property, but a deal is not done yet.

Since the 1930's it has been a hub for communication, and communication has saved it.

A major public write-in campaign last year persuaded the USPS to draft a permanent deed restriction that will protect the building for perpetuity no matter who buys it.

From the limestone and granite facade, flanking art deco lanterns, to the tile flooring, and ornamental ceiling, the exterior and much of the lobby of Allentown's main Post Office will be protected for perpetuity.

"I think it's wonderful they are reacting to the community support for the history of the building and impact on Hamilton Street," said Allentown Preservation League Head Lauren Golden.

Goldman spearheaded the public comment campaign last spring, pushing the USPS to protect certain historical elements of the building.

The nearly 100,000-square-foot art deco structure has been for sale for more than a year. The protections take effect once the sale goes through.

"These murals commemorate Allentown throughout it's history in a way I don't know the rest of the building does," Golden said while looking up inside the lobby.

The eight lobby murals commissioned in 1937 and painted by leading muralist Gifford Reynolds showcase the city's unique history but are not on the protected list.

The murals portray historical events such as emancipating slaves at Trout Hall to first defenders marching off to the Civil War.

Golden is hoping to change that using the same old fashioned technology that has lived here for nearly 90 years.

"I'm hoping anyone who wrote in the first time. Will write in again and ask that the murals be added to the protected list," she said.

The public has until May 31 to write in to the U.S. Postal Service's Federal Preservation Officer.
  Mr. Daniel Delahaye
U.S. Postal Service Federal Preservation Officer
PO Box 23317 Washington, DC 20026-3317

The Post Office said the murals are, and remain, the property of the Postal Service.  The Postal Service loans the murals to the purchaser of a property with protections for the murals set forth in the loan agreement.

The murals are not part of the property being sold so they would not be discussed in the deed or covenant that is part of the deed.

A new location for the Post Office has yet to be decided but it must be within a mile radius of the Hamilton Street location.

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