Monday, January 19, 2009

New Post Office

This blog is about the current Post Office in Rich Hill, Missouri, which was built in 1960. This blog story about the post office also has the story about How the town got the name of Rich Hill.
The information was given to me by Ginnie Burchell. Thank you Ginnie without your the pamphlet of the dedication I couldn't have written this blog!

History of the Rich Hill Post office
Compiled by Frank E. Ralston
The first Rich Hill post office was founded 89 years ago last August, and was located 2 miles north of the present site. After the Civil War, as new settlers started locating this territory, they found no mailing facilities closer than 10 to 12 miles distance—having to go to either Butler, Papinville or Balltown for their letters from back home.
A meeting was called during the summer of 1871 at the only store in the community, that of C. W. Ratekin to talk the matter over and start trying to bring a postoffice closer to their doorways. A petition to the Post Office Department in Washington setting out their wishes eventually brought a postal inspector. Another meeting at Ratekin's store closed the matter and the papers were signed to bring them a post office. The only available place was Ratekin's store, and therefore Mr. Ratekin was appointed the first postmaster, receiving his commis­sion August 3, 1871. The postal inspector stated they would have to have a name for the post office. According to John D. Moore, who was the school teacher, stated that William Wear suggested that they were in a very rich country, while Mr. Moore said, "We are on a hill," and that was it—RICH HILL came a borning.
Mr. Ratekin sold the store in- November 1872 to one George Reif. who was immediately appointed the second postmaster and held this office from November 26, 1872 until after the moving of the town to its present site. He relinquished the office April 18, 1881 to George P. Huckeby. It took a little conniving to get the new Rich Hill a post office at once, as the town was on a boom so when they platted the town of Rich Hill they located Blocks number 1 and 2 out at what we now refer to as Old Rich Hill. The Post Office Department ruling at that time was that an office could be moved from one block in a city to another. So Rich Hill got their post office 'by July 1, 1880, which was the date the new RICH HILL was founded. No buildings had been erected, so Mr. Reif secured a large tent, which became the post office for the next six months, while he sold his grocery stock after he found he could not attend to both a post office and a grocery store.
A contract was let to build a one story frame building, located at the site of the new telephone building, and in October of 1880 the office was located there. Later and before the end of the year a number of substantial brick buildings were either erected or in the process of building. As soon as available the post office moved into a brick building, further west in the same block. This was the west one-half of the Heuser Hardware building. Later it was moved to the east half of the Farmers and Manufacturers building, and it opened out on 6th street, what is now the Rich Hill Insurance office. The C. A. Bird book store occupied the front of the building and opened out on Park Avenue. Later the post office was moved into the brick building now occupied by Mc's Cafe, directly east of the Northrup Drug store. It finally came to rest in the building at the corner of 7th and Park Avenue, directly across the street west of where George Reif has set his tent for our first post office. It was located in this building for over 50 years.
So, after close to 90 years moving from one location to another we are dedicating our handsome and commodious new building, which should last us for many generations.
Construction of the new Post Office building was started on July 2, 1960. The contract for the building was let to the Postal Leasing Corp., of Kansas City, Mo. construction of the building was done by the Metropolitan Construction Co., of Kansas City.
The Post Office was moved into the new building on the night of Sept. 30 and was ready for business on the morning of October 1. The first customer in the new Post Office building on Saturday October 1, 1960. This shows Frank E. Ralston who was waiting for the office to open, buying a sheet of commeroative stamps. Frank was waiting for the office to open and brought along his own photographer. He has been a stamp collector for over fifty years.


droz said...

Fascinating story. I've never heard that one. The information in this website is great! Keep up the good work and keep spreading the word.

rograt said...

Great Story are there any pictures of the original store.

Bart McClaughry said...

I am sorry to say that No, I do not have any "old pictures of the store but who knows who knows maybe one will show up sometime.
Thanks to both of you for commenting on my blog you are my first comments. It inspires to keep writing the blogs.
Thank again.