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Remembering the postal building by city hall

POSTED: August 14, 2014 4:46 p.m.
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Above is a band in a parade in front of the post office end of Ramsey Motor Company.

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According to Betty Renfro in “River to River,” in April 1836, John Charlton was named postmaster in Springfield, a rapidly growing town. Since he was the clerk of Inferior Court, it is guessed that the post office was located around the old courthouse, which preceded the courthouse built about 1910 on the courthouse square.

In the 1880s, the mail station was housed in an apothecary shop built by Dr. Edwards, located where the Willie Rude Usher house sat on Pine Street (now the location of the Effingham Judicial Complex). When Bascom Mingledorff became postmaster in 1897, he relocated the post office to his mercantile store at Rabun and Oak streets. E.B. “Cap” Mingledorff built his home from some of the timber and materials from that building.

Prior to Brinson Railroad in 1908, the mail was delivered by train to Guyton and a carrier delivered the mail on horseback to Springfield. The mail was sorted and distributed to local citizens, other small communities and held for those from rural areas outside the city to come and collect.

A small, wooden building, which was located in what is now a parking lot between the current Springfield City Hall and the Mars Theatre, served as an early post office. When the post office relocated from the small wooden building into the Ramsey Building, Merle Rahn (later Mrs. Cecil Turner) had a beauty shop in the building. Sue Wilson, who was also a beautician, worked with her.

My Aunt Mary Turner remembers going there around 1940 for haircuts and permanent waves. The contraption used at that time to do the hair waves used a solution that had to be activated by an electrical device on the head. If the weather had storms in the area, you could not get a wave, as the lightning did not mix with this method of curling hair.

Merle was deaf, and customers said it was better for Sue to do your hair because you could tell her what you wanted done. With Merle, because she could not hear with poor communications, you got the hair style Merle chose. Merle relocated to a shop further up the street. This will come in another story in a few months.

When the post office relocated from the wooden building into the Ramsey Motor Company, it occupied space on the south end of the building. Mr. Harry N. Ramsey Sr. and Mrs. Ruby Beckwith served as postmaster and postmistress in succession during the years at Ramsey Motor Company. The mail area was where customers now pay water bills in Springfield.

The post office has changed locations and has been located in many different buildings. After the office left the Ramsey Motor Company building, it was relocated in 1960 to a new building on Pine Street, adjacent to the south side of the current fire department. The outgrown building was relocated in 1995 to a new building and its current location is on Laurel Street, just north of the current Heritage Bank of the South.

According to “River to River” by Betty Renfro, postmasters who served through 1994 after John Charlton were: Phillip C. Pendleton appointed in January 1850; George R. Wright in March 1850; James Rahn, 1854; James M. Morgan, 1858; Amos F. Rahn,  1866; John H. Hinely, 1888; Bascom Mingledorff,  1897; Charles Jerald in January 1907; Eugene A. Keebler in September 1907; Henry Biddenbach, 1909; James A. Hodges, 1910; Percy W. Shearouse, 1914; H.N. Ramsey Sr., 1915 until he retired in 1943; Ruby Beckwith, 1943 until she retired in 1961; Lowell D. Morgan, 1961 until his death in June 1965; Miriam Bevill, appointed acting postmaster in August 1965; Thomas L. Exley, 1966; Arthur J. Warren, 1976; Margie C. Tuten in 1977; Darlene Glemboski, date unknown; and Michael Sibilio in 1994.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Exley at 754-6681 or email her at hesheraldexley@aol.com.

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