May 19, 2011
The rich heritage of post offices built during the New Deal is being dismantled by the Postal Service, piece by piece. The post office in Athens, Pennsylvania, may be closing soon. The Sayre, PA, Morning Times reports today, "According to the Postmaster (who is not a local), a truck will come in Memorial Day weekend to move the majority of the building out and on June 4, employees were informed to report the Sayre Post Office for work. One clerk and one maintenance man will man the office in Athens until the final shutdown is scheduled.”
The Athens, PA, post office was built in 1939, and it features, like many of the New Deal buildings, a mural of historic interest. It's entitled "General Sullivan at Tioga Point," painted in 1941 by Allan D. Jones, Jr.
The "father of American music," Stephen Foster, was born about 50 miles away, in Lawrenceville, and he attended school in Athens from 1839 to 1841. At the age of 14, he wrote his first composition, Tioga Waltz, and performed it during commencement exercises. The site of his famous song "Camptown Races" is just 30 miles from Athens. You can bet your money on de bob-tail nag, but don't bet on the Athens New Deal post office coming out ahead.