May 23, 2011
The post office at 154 Post Road in Westport, Connecticut, was built in 1935 by the New Deal. It was designed by Lansing Holden, a World War I flying ace, who won the Distinguished Service Cross. Returning home from the war, he took up his father’s profession as an architect. Holden continued to fly, and in 1938 he died in a crash trying to land in bad weather.
As reported in the Westport Patch, the Postal Service decided back in December 2009 to sell the post office. The explanation was that "the USPS is having financial problems, customers have trouble finding parking spaces by the building, and the building is larger than Westport postal workers need now that mail is sorted in Norwalk." The building was appraised at $3.6 million, according to Westport tax records.
The Westport News reports that the post office was sold on May 18 for $2.35 million, to a real estate company named Ansley Westport Partners, based in Atlanta. The new owners of the building will seek a retailer or restaurant as a tenant. "It's a unique and historic building. We appreciate the importance of the building to Westport," said Ansley Westport principal and Atlanta-based lawyer, Alon Panovka. "We would like to find a tenant that will enhance the downtown Westport area."
Westport will continue to have its own post office—it's relocating a few block away, to Playhouse Square. Postal Service officials have not yet disclosed a relocation date.
As the Westport Patch reports, local merchants are bemoaning the closing of the post office. "It's terrible. Just a shame," said Joe Canicatti, owner of Joe's Pizza,which is just across the street from the post office. "We are going to lose a lot of foot traffic. Everybody's moving out. It's disappointing."
Westport, by the way, was the home of artist Robert Lamdin, who painted New Deal murals in the nearby Bridgeport post office and elsewhere in Connecticut.
UPDATE: The post office closed with the first of the year, Jan. 2012.