Historic Lobby

Building History

Signs of its Working Past
As demands on city post offices changed, so did this building.

Stamps sales windows in the Historic Lobby.
Stamps sales windows in the Historic Lobby.
Above: Stamps sales windows in the Historic Lobby.

Tables for writing and filling out forms in the Historic Lobby.
Tables for writing and filling out forms in the Historic Lobby.
Above: Tables for writing and filling out forms in the Historic Lobby.

Clerk window in the Historic Lobby.
Clerk window in the Historic Lobby.
Above: Clerk window in the Historic Lobby.

Post office boxes in the Historic Lobby.
Post office boxes in the Historic Lobby.
Above: Post office boxes in the Historic Lobby.

Worn marble floors in the Historic Lobby.
Worn marble floors in the Historic Lobby.
Above: Worn marble floors in the Historic Lobby.

Building History Timeline

1911: Construction of the post office next to the new city train station begins.

Construction of the post office, February 1st, 1913.
Construction of the post office, February 1st, 1913.
Above: Construction of the post office, February 1st, 1913.

Construction of the post office, May 2nd, 1913.
Construction of the post office, May 2nd, 1913.
Above: Construction of the post office, May 2nd, 1913.

1914: On September 14, the Washington City Post Office opens for business.

Historic Lobby, circa 1914.
Historic Lobby, circa 1914.
Above: Historic Lobby, circa 1914.

1935: The building is expanded with the help of Federal funds intended to boost the nation’s depressed economy.

Postcard showing post office (left) and Union Station (right), circa 1935.
Postcard showing post office (left) and Union Station (right), circa 1935.
Above: Postcard showing post office (left) and Union Station (right), circa 1935.

1957-59: The post office is modernized to improve mail handling, communications, and customer service.

Postal workers with Automatic Address Reader machine, circa 1958.
Postal workers with Automatic Address Reader machine, circa 1958.
Above: Postal workers with Automatic Address Reader machine, circa 1958.

1971: A second burst of modernization, including Formica counters and a dropped ceiling, increases usability for visitors but covers much of the original architecture.

Historic Lobby, circa 1971.
Historic Lobby, circa 1971.
Above: Historic Lobby, circa 1971.

1986: To accommodate larger postal volumes, a mail processing plant is built two miles north. A scaled-down post office reopens downstairs.

Entrance to scaled-down post office.
Entrance to scaled-down post office.
Above: Entrance to scaled-down post office.

1989: Renovation begins to make way for federal offices and the National Postal Museum.

Crane hanging mail plane in Atrium during museum construction, 1992-1993.
Crane hanging mail plane in Atrium during museum construction, 1992-1993.
Above: Crane hanging mail plane in Atrium during museum construction, 1992-1993.

The downstairs Atrium, 2013.
The downstairs Atrium, 2013.
Above: The downstairs Atrium, 2013.