Goodwin-Brown Building On College Avenue Is Site Of Office For Many Years
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
Salem now enjoys fine mail service; an efficient post office department carries the mail without a bit of time lost unnecessarily. Speed is the motto of the postal workers; working at top speed and airplanes whir over mountains and plain at all hours of the day and night in order that Uncle Sam’s mail shall be delivered on time.
Yet less than one hundred years ago the stagecoach was the sole means of mail transportation into Salem and mail was received by this carrier but twice a week.
Before and during the War Between the States the postmaster at Salem was Joseph Campbell. He was postmaster here for a number of years and was probably the first postmaster who devoted his full time to the duties of such office.
Serves 23 Years
In 1866 W. S. Oakey was chosen postmaster and he continued in this position for twenty-three years. Mr. Oakey was a Republican and the Republicans were in control of the nation during most of this period. However, Mr. Oakey remained as postmaster during the first administration of Grover Cleveland because of the fact that the Democrats could not agree on a man of their political faith.
In 1889 W. Lee Brand was appointed postmaster after the Republicans again gained control of the government. Mr. Brand did not seek this position but accepted it at the request of Senator Mahone who was a close personal friend of Mr. Brand.
Grover Cleveland was again elected in 1892so that once more it was time for a Democratic postmaster. C. D. Denit was chosen for the post and he served for four years until the first term of President McKinley, a Republican. Then W. L. Brand was again chosen for the place. He resigned as postmaster to enter business and Captain Wingfield Griffin was chosen to succeed him.
Have Hot Fight
According to the old files of this paper the Republicans had quite a fight among themselves over the postmastership in 1910. G. O. Alexander, a newcomer in this county, was an applicant for the place and a petition protesting against his appointment was sent by local people to Washington. I. V. Yonce was given the place.
Following Mr.Yonce were Edward Barnitz, W. H. Oakey and G. A. Scruggs in the order named.
As far back as the recollection of any of the people now living goes, the first place used for a post office was the building where the Salem Insurance & Real Estate Corporation is now located across from the Forst Lewis hotel. It was then moved to the old Plecker building which stood near the place where the recreational center is now situated. After being located there for a few years it was moved to the Whitticar building where the pool room is at present and still later to the former stand of the barber shop on College Avenue. The post office remained in the College Avenue location until the present post office was erected.
-Prepared by Lisa King