You know the giant United States Post Office building on the northeast corner of Alameda Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles? The one across from Olvera Street and Union Station? Did you know that only a small portion of the building is even used as a post office anymore? Most of the building is used by the CoreSite data processing center. It seems like kind of a waste that such a beautiful building isn’t being used to celebrate DTLA’s history. It would make an awesome museum.
Next time you are driving by the Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style building you need to stop and check it out. Despite the current 1990’s style post office inside, the rest of the building is spectacular with its awesome entrance doors, domed ceiling lobby and WPA murals. Don’t be fooled by the parking lot attendant, there is free parking in front of the north entrance.
Here’s a little history. When the postal annex building opened in May 1940 it had 1,632 postal clerks, carriers and laborers responsible for the processing of 2,000,000 pieces of mail 24 hours per day. The building was equipped with the latest facilities for rapid handling of mail, including conveyors, chutes, weighing machines, cancelling machines, and sorting tables. At the time it was considered “the most modern and efficient” post office in the nation. Only ten years after its opening, the demands of the city’s mail had already outgrown the facility. Accordingly, the Post Office announced plans in 1950 for a $12 million expansion. By the 1980s, the operations had outgrown even the expanded facilities. The facility’s volume had grown by the mid-1980s to 14 million pieces of mail per day, and the annex was plagued by inadequate space, overcrowding and inadequate work areas. The Postal Service Board of Governors in 1984 approved the construction of a new $151 million general post office in South Los Angeles. The new processing facility in South L.A. opened in 1989.
U.S. Post Office Terminal Annex 900 No. Alameda Street (at E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue)