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The Sayville Post Office
sayville.com - history - 7/3/2009
Connie Currie
 

If you were to step into this picture, you would think you were on Main Street, standing in front of “Past and Presents”. But no, it’s our first Post Office Building, standing by itself, the A.C. Edwards house to the east and the Raynor block to the west. The Edwards house is now on Center Street, while the Raynor Block was damaged in a fire in November of 1951, and it lost its second floor.

The Post Office building stands, pretty much as it was completed in early December of 1896, built by Sayville masons, William Bason and Sons for Postmaster, J. S. Edwards. There was much rejoicing when the building was completed and opened, so much so that the young people of Sayville held a dancing party there to commemorate the event.

The position of Postmaster was established in March of 1837, the first Postmaster was Daniel Howell. *“Previously letters were left at the home of Wilson J. Terry, on the west corner of Main Street and Gillette Avenue. A table placed in the hallway of the home was a depository for the mail. Very early each morning the mail carrier rode his horse from Patchogue to Babylon connecting in each place with carriers of other routes. He collected the letters from Mr. Terry’s hall table and distributed them along the route. A ten cent tax was required on each letter. In the afternoon he brought the mail from the west. Only once a week did mail come from the city and that for the entire south side of the island was contained in one pouch.”

Once the Long Island Railroad came to the Island, the mail was delivered to the local railroad station, and if the mail pick-up was within 80 rods of the station, it was delivered to that site by the stationmaster. Sayville, at one time had a stationmaster, Mr. Quackenbuss, who always left his mail delivery responsibility to the last minute. Captain Charles Gillette, who had served as Postmaster from 1864 to 1866 and again from 1869 to 1885, wrote to the head of the Post Office Department apprising him of the situation, and he reminded him that his Department was responsible for a timely mail delivery. The Captain’s letter resulted in John Wells being hired to pick up the mail and deliver it to the Postmaster. John’s regular business was that of providing transportation for travelers, his wagon met all incoming trains, it was therefore easy for him to include mail pickup.

The LIRR provided faster mail delivery, however there were occasional glitches, such as one that took place on a cold, frosty morning in November of 1905. When the 5:35am train flew through Sayville, the mail pouch was thrown out, falling under the train wheels. Postmaster Lafferrandre was summoned and he searched a half mile of track, retrieving mangled letters and newspapers. Apparently someone, the wrappings beyond recognition, had order a linen shirt. Postmaster Lafferrandre hoped, as he carefully folded the shirt, that its owner had another.

It was during Lafferrendre’s term of office (1909) that the Post Office was inspected by the Assistant Superintendent of Salaries and Allowances in the Post Office Department, and permission was granted to open the lobby on week days until 10PM, on Sundays from 10:45AM until 5PM, and Holidays from 9:30AM until 7:00PM.

1924, Charles Huntoon was Postmaster. Huntoon had come to Sayville from Connecticut as a manager for an oyster concern. He met and married Bertha Clock in the Sayville Congregational Church. Their daughter, Elinor was to become Sayville’s librarian. Huntoon’s years as Postmaster were eventful. It was in 1924 that home delivery, as we know it today was initiated. Huntoon walked Sayville, himself, setting up the different routes. Pity the poor deliveryman of that day, who could not keep up to the Postmaster’s time. Because of home delivery, houses were given street addresses, prior to that, a house was identified by the street and the people living on either side of it.

December 24, 1945 saw the biggest day in the history of the Sayville Post Office, 25,258 pieces of mail cancelled. All previous records were broken. Walter J. Greene was Postmaster at the time. It was Walter J. Greene who in 1956, handled the move from this building to quarters in the east side of the new Oystermen’s Bank and Trust Company building.

Finally in 1962, the Post Office outgrew its home with the bank, and moved to its present Greene Avenue location.

*A History of Early Sayville by Clarissa Edwards

Connie Currie, The Sayville Historical Society and the L.I. Wireless Historical Society

 
   
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