Horror Story in Lakewood, NJ


The post office in downtown Lakewood, New Jersey, was built by the WPA in 1938.  Located at the corner of Clifton Avenue & Main Street, it’s undergone a few changes over the years, like an addition on the north side and renovation of the interior, but for the most part it looks like it did back in 1938. 

The Asbury Park Press reports that the USPS announced this week that it would be closing this historic post office and selling the building.  Postal services for the community will be moved to a facility in the Lakewood Industrial Park on the outskirts of the town.  A real estate specialist for the Postal Service told Lakewood officials there would be a benefit for the town because the building, once sold, could be added to the town’s tax roll.  Town officials and local residents were not impressed with the argument, and they passed a resolution Thursday night making it known that it considers the move by the postal service to be "extremely inappropriate."

Lakewood was settled before the American Revolution, and it’s had mail service since the early 1800s, when a man was hired to deliver letters and other valuables to and from Freehold, a connecting point to New York and Philadelphia.  In 1880, citizens had an election to choose the village’s name, and on March 20 the Post Office officially recognized the village as "Lakewood.”  In the early 1900s, it became a vacation resort for the wealthy: the Rockefeller family estate is now Ocean County Park, and Jay Gould’s is now Georgian Court University (wikipedia).  With a population of over 92,000, Lakewood is the seventh largest community in New Jersey.

Though set on Long Island, The Amityville Horror was actually filmed partly in Lakewood.  The story of a haunted house where a mass murder had taken place, the film was a huge box office success, but it got some negative reviews, like one from Roger Ebert, who described it as "dreary and terminally depressing.”  The same goes for the closing of Lakewood’s New Deal post office.

(Photo credit: Postcard: Cardcow.com: Post office: Waymarking.com; Amityville)