November 24, 2013, 1:00 PM
Looking back, the story of Maplewood’s postal service has always been one of change. Over the past 200 years area residents have gone to a bewildering number of places for their mail. After the Revolutionary War and into the early 19th century, the settlers of this then-rural locale would have had to travel by horse or oxen to Newark, Elizabeth, Orange or Springfield. Beginning in the mid-1800’s Jefferson Villagers (now western Maplewood) used the post office in South Orange (or picked up letters kindly brought by fellow residents to the Clinton Valley Store on Valley St.) and those closer to Springfield Avenue (now the Hilton section of Maplewood), used the one in Irvington. From about the 1880’s to the 1910’s the post offices resided in two popular retail locations: Harry Baker’s general store on Baker St. and Charlie Stewart’s general store on Springfield Ave.
Over the course of the next several decades several structures in Maplewood Village served as post offices: 92 Baker St., 93 Baker St. (The Roosevelt) and 172 Maplewood Ave. All were actually branches of South Orange’s post office. Despite Maplewood’s impressive growth as a suburb to a town of more than 22,000, it did not have its own first class post office until 1947 or a postmaster until O.Vincent McNany, was appointed by President Truman in 1948. Then, in 1958 the Maplecrest branch opened to serve the Hilton section and Maplewoodians proudly celebrated the opening of their new 15,920 square foot main facility on Maplewood Ave. with dedicatory speeches and a major parade. Find out more about the history of Maplewood’s postal service and that of our nation and state at Durand-Hedden on Sunday, November 24 through an exhibit from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and a talk at 2:00 p.m. by Robert Rose, President of the New Jersey Postal History Society.
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Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History is an illustrated 40-page book that traces the evolution of slavery in New Jersey, which began with Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century and continued through the end of the Civil War.