seeking History of Boston's General Mail facility

johnmcboston

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Someone posted the below image on Facebook (dated 1967). This, of course, being South Station platforms.

On the right is what seems to be an older USPS building. The old Blue & White trucks. Tracks servicing - back in the days of mail via rail. Of course, the white building is long gone and replaced by the larger footprint, shorter brick building. We can see that being built in another FB image (2nd, below) dated 1970, we can see construction finishing up.

Scouring the internet, I can't seem to find history of either the older white building or why the new (current) building went up. Given the dates of the photos (67 and 70) I've got a timeframe, but not much more.

Figure I would leave the railfans and ask the Architecture folks. Anyone have a little history they can share?



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NH South Station 1967.jpg

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South Station 1970 post office.jpg
 

qubbin

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I don't know the whys. From the photos it would appear the older postal building dates from the 1930s. The newer one has a much bigger footprint. You probably know all this but the bigger building took up the space of several tracks and platforms in South Station. Everything visible in the 1967 picture is incorporated into the new South Postal Annex. I have no idea why they made a deal then to build a much larger facility there at a time when mail by rail was in decline and the old Railway Express agency folded. Passenger rail was at its nadir in the 1960s. The collapse of the New Haven, NY Central, Pennsylvania, Boston & Maine railroads was under way. Amtrak created 1971 to hold on to what was left of passenger rail. Commuter rail into South Station was a shadow of what it had been and would be again (until COVID). The railroad entity that owned South Station probably thought it was way over capacity and the PO wanted the land. Later they tore down half of the station-- much of what you see in the background in the 1967 picture--to build an office building on Summer St for Stone & Webster engineering. In recent years the T wishes it had all that track and platform back but I guess the Post Office has held out for better terms/more money. Oh well...
 

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