Today we continue our review of post offices in Live Oak. We left off last week with the delayed project to build a new post office to replace the relatively new building at the southwest corner of Ohio Avenue and Wilbur Street that was no longer sufficient for postal services.

Eric Musgrove

Eric Musgrove

Ground for the new post office was eventually broken on the corner of Ohio Avenue and Parshley Street the last week of June 1915 under the direction of S. R. Scott. The cornerstone of the Post Office was laid on Saturday, October 2, 1915. Ceremonies were to be conducted by the local Barrett Masonic Lodge and Congressman Clark, who had secured Federal funding for the building. All the Masonic lodges in the district and surrounding counties were invited to be present for the cornerstone-laying. United States Senator Nathan P. Bryan delivered an eloquent address from the steps of the Courthouse when Congressman Clark was unable to attend. The cornerstone has the name of William G. McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury, and Oscar Wenderoth, supervising architect.

The approximately 11,000-square-foot Live Oak Post Office was built with a brick exterior with plaster walls and ceiling on the interior. The roof was sheet metal with mission tile and copper, with the floors made of terrazzo and asbestos tile. The rounded arched windows and doors suggest the 18th Century Adam style of architecture (also called the Federal style in the United States), which saw a revival between 1880 and 1920. Mr. Wenderoth designed many other post offices and Federal buildings with this same architectural style. The new post office also had a basement (a rarity for Live Oak), made possible because of the high ground upon which it sits, as well as the raised first floor to compensate.

The Live Oak Post Office had been completed and occupied by July 1916, when a Suwannee Democrat article noted that the Payne Brothers would soon be ready for business “in the building recently vacated by Postmaster (William R., EM) Dorman and his excellent force.” The new post office on the northwest corner of Ohio Avenue and Parshley Street was a welcome respite for the local postmaster and his staff, and served the community admirably.

In 1919, Postmaster Dorman went into the grocery business on behalf of the United States government, providing relief to customers from high post-WWI prices. Staple goods were provided at reduced prices, and additional postal clerks were hired to take care of the need. Each postmaster was provided an allotment of goods according to their rating (Live Oak was deemed a second-class post office), and the sales continued until the stock was sold out. Any amount of articles could be ordered, delivered in 125-pound parcels. Customers had to pay for the net price, plus postage and war taxes.

We will complete our study of the post offices in Live Oak next week.

Eric Musgrove can be reached at ericm@suwgov.org or 386-362-0564.

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