CHERISH THE HISTORY

We’ve had great progress in working to save the aspects of Maplewood’s history that exist at the Village Post Office site.

Remember, this site hosted Maplewood’s first school, first library, and first Town Hall.  The foundation of the building that housed all these services still exists under the lobby of the existing building.   The 1950s, of course, were a pivotal time in our local and national history as well.   While a very controversial proposal when first introduced, the local support of the Post Office built by the Eisenhower administration was largely because of its symbolism in the collective consciousness of the time.

Maplewood Post Office Construction Sign
Design For Sign That Appeared In Front of Site During Construction

Mr. Forgione has agreed to help us explore the remains of the Ricalton foundation, and also to allow us to retrieve items from the current building that are representative of the special days following its opening in 1958.  We will be meeting with the Historical Preservation Committee to discuss how to proceed.

Enjoy the slideshow, and read further below for details.

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Inda Sechzer updated the Township Committee on the status of this effort at the February 2, 2016 meeting.  The text of her comments follow:

Good Evening.

I have spoken before this committee and the Planning Board at prior meetings regarding the incidental finding of the possibility of artifacts of the 1869 Ricalton Schoolhouse and Town Hall in the crawl space of the existing Post Office building, due to notes found on the 1956 plans.   So by now you are all well aware of this.

Tonight I would like to update you on where we are in this process.   ..read more here.

There’s actually quite a lot of history associated with the site, and you can learn a bit more looking other articles available here, and also with the help of Durand Heddon House or the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission.

Mr. Ricalton was himself a very interesting fellow, and was featured in a New York Times article some years back.

Of course, little or nothing of the distant past may exist.   What is most intriguing and very easy to explore, however, is the foundation and basement of the original school house which still lies beneath the Post Office lobby.   This can be seen on close inspection of the construction drawings that show the basement depth, and a note to construction crews to not remove the foundation walls.

crawl_space_2
1956 Construction Drawing Showing Old Foundation Under Post Office Lobby

 

In addition to agreeing to allow us to retain some of the 1950s signage and elements of the current building, Mr. Forgione has agreed to coordinate with us so that the crawl space under the existing lobby can also be inspected.

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The remainder of our website contains volumes on the existing structure and the Clarus Maplewood proposal.   We hope that what has been learned along the way will be put to good use during the planning of future projects through out Maplewood.

For more background, see some of our other pages:

 

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[We survive on community awareness.  Please submit your email below for future updates.  Also, explore our site and vote at bit.ly/VoteVillage as a way to bid a fond farewell to the Village Post Office]