Preservation – Rocky Mount’s Historic Downtown Area Part 3-The Post Office

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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I wish I’d written the following description of the post office, but like Harry Potter, I withdrew the information (memory) from a pensive.6-13-1_pensieve_merged_black

The early 20th century, Neoclassical, Rocky Mount Post Office enjoys a prime location in revitalizing downtown Rocky Mount. This 18,500-SF building has 1.5 floors above grade, and one floor below grade. Its handsome limestone exterior harkens to times past, and its cast-in-place concrete frame gives it excellent structural stability. Windows and roof are secured; interior is ready for renovation. The historic Douglas Block buildings including the Booker T Theater, is a block away; Edgecombe Community College is across the street, and let us not forget the outstanding Prime Smokehouse Restaurant in the same area; all pieces in the revitalization puzzle already in place. Those members and interest folks that attended the Preservation Rocky Mount tour were delighted it included the Post Office. It was a wonderful opportunity you would have enjoyed. I know you are interested in the preservation of our assets, retaining our stories, and creating a future that holds these things in a creative and reimagined way. Join Preservation Rocky Mount and help rethink it’s role in todays revitalization work. Be sure to visit the PRM Home Page with information you will need. While you are at it, visit and ‘Like’ the PRM Facebook page .

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I stepped aside for a reflective moment and took this photograph through these spacious windows. It felt like a timeless, quiet Sunday afternoon that I looked upon. It allowed me a moment to look back. Who knows how many people glanced through these windows at the same trees. I tried to image a future for this beautiful architectural building. Jennifer Sisal with Ratio Architects, Inc is involved in this reimagining. I will write more about this process in another post. We know that Historic preservation encourages cities to build on the assets they have. The old Post Office, The People’s Bank, and the May & Gorham building, matter to us. They reflect our stories and help retain our identity. They create opportunities for growth, and are part of the future’s firm foundation we build upon.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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3 Responses to Preservation – Rocky Mount’s Historic Downtown Area Part 3-The Post Office

  1. Meg V Born says:

    Is there any lead class in the windows? Hawthorne, in Concord Mass, wrote little love notes to his wife on the lead glass window panes using her diamond. I always thought that was the most romantic thing.

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  2. Melbourne Pridgen writes on Rocky Mount Way Back When” Facebook page; Stepheny, during that tour of the old post office I got to go downstairs and visit the room where I signed up to go in the United States Air Force back in February 1953.. It was the corner room at the bottom of the stairs. That room was also my last stop in Rocky Mount before reporting for active duty in the Air Force on 9 April 1953.

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  3. Kitty Thurman Hall wrote on “Rocky Mount Way Back When: I wish I knew how many times I rode downtown at night with Daddy to check his mail. I still remember his PO box number, and could walk straight to it today though I probably haven’t been in the building since 1961. Don’t know why Daddy had to go at night since his business was around the corner on Rose Street, but I suspect it had something to do with the proximity to May and Gorham and the fire station on Main Street. Once in Five Points, I remember sitting at the small wrought iron table and chairs licking my cone of orange sherbet while Daddy selected his cigars from the case by the front door. Usually our next stop was the station where the firemen were sitting out front (weather permitting). Daddy (always a volunteer fireman) would pass the time of day with them from his truck while we waited patiently. Peggi and I grew up knowing and respecting these fine men. Then there were the nights we went to the newsstand to load up, but that’s another story, isn’t it !!!

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