March 09, 2010 - 7:39 am

Whither Mr. Postman? Wither Mr. Postman.

LeDroit Park Post Office

The LeDroit Park post office, located at the entangled crossroads of Rhode Island, Florida, and New Jersey Avenues and S and Fourth Streets, is a mystery to us. Every time we have paid it a visit— even during the day on weekdays!—  it has been closed for lunch or just closed for the rest of the day. In fact, we have never set foot inside due to its inconvenient hours.

When in April the City Paper reviewed the post office (yes, they used to do such a thing), they awarded it a D+, but we doubt the reliability of such a whimsical alt-paper metric.

Nonetheless, just before we moved to the neighborhood— that is, before we left for LeDroit— we couldn’t help but wonder how a post office with such inconvenient hours could generate enough revenue to justify its existence.

Our intuition was right, for we soon learned that the Postal Service had added the location to its list of offices to close nationwide.  Makes sense, after all, and the second-nearest post office isn’t too far away, located on the Howard campus.

Not so fast.  Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) congratulated herself in her most recent biannual newsletter for removing all District post offices from the closure list.  Though Ms. Norton surely believes she’s helping her constituents, nowhere does she explain how the Postal Service is supposed to close a projected $238-billion budget gap over the coming decade.  If every Member of Congress intervenes on the behalf of each low-performing post office in his own district, the Postal Service will have to find other ways to compensate for the resource drain, perhaps by raising rates and eliminating Saturday delivery.  Mrs. Norton may think she did the District some good, but she and her colleagues are hastening the demise of the mail.

February 17, 2010 - 1:56 am

Anna J. Cooper in the Mail

One of LeDroit Park’s notable residents was featured on a stamp in June.  Our very own Anna J. Cooper (1858 – 1964) lived at the veranda-lined house at Second and T Streets. The circle at Third and T Streets was named in her honor.

Ms. Cooper is most famous for her book A Voice from the South, considered a foundational text in black feminism and published while she was the principal of the M Street High School (now called Dunbar High School).  She then moved on to teach night classes for black Washingtonians at Frelinghuysen University, which was located in her house for a time.  She received a PhD at the Sorbonne in 1924, making her among the first black American women to receive a doctorate.

If you have a newer U.S. passport, you may notice that she is quoted on pages 26-7: “The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class— it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”

Get a sheet of her stamps and send a little piece of your neighborhood’s history whenever you send a letter.

October 09, 2009 - 12:58 pm

Good-Bye Mr. Postman

Email and the ailing economy are hurting the U.S. Postal Service as mail volume and postal revenues have dropped. This summer, the USPS proposed a list of 3,600 offices to close nationwide, including our very own LeDroit Park Post Office at Florida, Rhode Island and New Jersey Avenues.

The Postal Service has now narrowed the list of proposed closures to 371 and the LeDroit Park station remains on the list. Since moving to the neighborhood, we have wondered about the economic viability of this particular post office, especially with its limited business hours.  The Postal Service cannot afford to keep all of its post offices open and we understand why they have chosen our post office to close.

If this post office closes, the nearest post office will be at 2400 6th St NW at Howard University. Its hours are similar to those of the LeDroit Park Post Office.

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