CHARLESTON POST OFFICE
Originally Built: ca. 1903-05
Original Location: Charleston, Utah
Charleston, Utah, southwest of Heber City, was settled in the 1850s and incorporated in 1899. Throughout its history it has remained a very small town. Even today it has a population of less than 500 people.
In the 19th century, the United States Postal Service only delivered mail to homes within a city’s boundaries. That meant everyone else would have to travel to the nearest post office to pick up their own mail, even though everyone paid the same postage rates. To change this, the postal service began experimenting with what they called Rural Free Delivery in 1896. The first rural route in Utah served Murray in 1899.
According to the US Postal Service’s records, Charleston had a rural route beginning in September 1903. Pioneer Village historians have estimated that the Charleston Post Office was built around 1905, but there’s very little information available to further corroborate either year as the actual construction date of the building.
The structure was used as a working post office until 1955. After that, the building and its furnishings were moved to Pioneer Village in Salt Lake City where they were displayed between the Wanship Cabin and the Millinery. Pioneer Village was relocated to Lagoon in the mid-1970s and ever since then, the Post Office has been found on Main Street next to the Dentist’s Office.
Upon entering the small building, visitors can look through the window into the postmaster’s office or walk around the wall of mail boxes to get a better look at the equipment that was used in the old days. Also on display here is an old safe and several postcards mounted on the walls.
MORE FROM LHP
Pioneer Village guidebook, 1988.
Utah: Dates That First Rural Routes Were Established at Post Offices, through 1904. USPS.com, accessed 22 Feb 2020.
Charleston. HistoryToGo.Utah.gov, accessed 7 Feb 2021.