The Words Are Hard To Find: Historic Post Office in York, PA—For Sale


York, Pennsylvania, was settled by the English in 1741. During the Revolutionary War, it served as the temporary capital of the Continental Congress, and the Articles of Confederation were drafted there, so York likes to think of itself as the first Capital of the United States. The city has been called an architectural museum because the downtown features so many well-preserved historic structures. Among them is a grand post office built in 1912. 

As In York reports, most of the administrative and mail handling jobs were moved to other locations about 20 years ago, and three years ago, carriers were sent to work out of an annex in West York.  All that’s left is a 10-employee retail operation, which requires only about 5,000 square feet, Postmaster Mike Becker said. 

Two New Deal sculptures have also been moved to another site in anticipation of the closing of the post office.  These large walnut statues, mounted on marble bases, used to tower over the building’s entryway. The Federal Works Agency in 1941 held a national competition that produced them for the post office, and the winners were George Kratina and Carl Schmitz, both of New York. Their sculptures were variations on the theme of Thanksgiving because the first first national Thanksgiving proclamation was made by the Continental Congress in York.  Kratina sculpted "Singing Thanksgiving," a statue of a father and daughter singing, and Schmitz did a farmer bowing his head in thanksgiving.  Video here.)

Postal Service officials have been planning to sell the building since 2005, and it’s now for sale.  The post office will probably move to a smaller location, hopefully nearby.  Fox reports on the story:


Among York’s native sons and daughters is  Martie Maguire, member of the country band Dixie Chicks, whose song “Ssh-It’s a Secret” contains these lyrics:

Can Tell There's Something You Don't Wanna Tell Me
It's Killing You 'Cause The Words Are Hard To Find
I Know You Want To Break It To Me Gently
Well Sweet Baby Say What's On Your Mind . . .

So If You're Gonna Say Goodbye, Don't Take All Day And Night
Let 'Er Rip, Let It Fly

Photo credit: Post card; Exterior; Statue)

Lyrics credit: Dixie Chicks, “Ssh—It’s a Secret