What I like most about cities is their depth. The ability to always find something “new,” even if new means you’ve seen it from the highway 100 times, driven down its road 12 times, and the structure itself has stood for 84 years.
Last week, while investigating a gaffe with the post office, we were prompted to visit the downtown location. After a quick Google search to find the address, I noticed that the post office had 4.5 stars on Yelp. 4.5 stars on Yelp?!? I thought…How in the world?! I will make the assumption that most of you have visited more than one post office in recent history. If that is the case, I will assume again that you might not give your post office 4 or 5 stars. I was intrigued. Then I saw the photos on yelp. Okay Brittany. We HAVE to go. So we did.
Walking up from the parking lot, I was in awe. Smooth, simple walls made of sandstone and granite accented by decorative bars on the windows; everything about this building is quintessentially Art Deco. A stepped back entry with large bronze doors, a geometric, bronze detail above, and an ornate relief give you a taste of the Deco details inside.
I walked in, and I swear my jaw dropped. This is a POST OFFICE?! I thought. It was beautiful. A bronze plaque adjacent to the vestibule confirmed its Art Deco roots: “This building was erected under the administration of Herbert Hoover…1932.” It also listed the architect, Samuel Hannaford & Sons.
For you Cincy aficionados, that name should be familiar. Hannaford & Sons designed many prominent structures. Some of the most notable include The Cincinnatian Hotel (1882), City Hall (1893), Music Hall (1896), Emery Theatre (1912), and the Cincinnati Times-Star Building (1933) (SPMH).
On the way to the transaction counter, we found more Deco details. Marble inlay floors, built-in marble counters with task lighting for addressing, floral reliefs on the ceiling; the list goes on. One of my favorite design elements was the bronze, geometric partition between the lobby and transaction counter. The geometries it creates are amazing, and I love the patina it has developed over time.
And I can’t complete this post without discussing the lighting in this building. Holy smokes. The reflections and shadows created from sunlight peering in through the ornate bars on the windows are simply stunning. The pictures attempt to do it justice, but you really need to see it in person.
Next time you’ve got something to mail and have an extra 20 minutes, I highly recommend checking out the Dalton Ave Post Office. It’s a beautiful Cincy gem and did I mention how nice the postal workers there are?!
The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH). Samuel Hannaford. March 2016.