Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 18, 2014

In History – Cornwall’s Post Office

This picture, taken in 1949, shows three of Cornwall's oldest mailmen. They began in or around 1925 when the letter-carrier system was intruduced. From the left: Alfred Gagnier, Joe Fox, and Midas Dumond.

This picture, taken in 1949, shows three of Cornwall’s oldest mailmen. They began in or around 1925 when the letter-carrier system was introduced. From the left: Alfred Gagnier, Joe Fox, and Midas Dumond.

Cornwall’s first public postal service was established in 1789 when Jacques Morriseau dropped off some letters at the King’s Stores at the foot of Pitt Street near the clock tower. Soon postal service increased to once every four weeks when letters and parcels were sent from Cornwall to Montreal and Kingston.

post0004The first rural home delivery started in 1920, while Cornwall’s first letter carrier service was inaugurated on January 4, 1926. The town’s first and only direct airmail delivery took place as a stunt on Jan. 14, 1927, when Laurentide Air Service dropped a weighted bag into the post office courtyard with a single letter.

photos0004The post office most Cornwallites remember is the Gothic-inspired structure and clock tower, situated on the northwest corner of Pitt and Second streets.  Erected between 1882 and 1885, by local contractors Gordon and L.A. Ross, the total cost of the building exceeded $47,900, and was outfitted with the latest in gas lighting and steam heating.

scrap0099With the construction of the Seaway, it was decided that the site of the old post office would make an ideal location for the Seaway Authority’s administration building. Rather than convert the old facility, it was demolished in 1955.

post0001The clock from the post office tower was saved and incorporated into the replica at the foot of Pitt Street in 1992.

post0003A new federal building was built in 1953 at the corner of Sydney and Second streets to house the new post office. The post office operated out of this building until 1995 when it was moved to 108 Second Street. In 1997 the retrofitted post office reopened as the Cornwall Public Library.

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