Throwback Thursday – History of the Post Office in Bowling Green

The U.S. Postal Service has been hot topic in recent news as it gears up for the election season and continues to evolve. For Throwback Thursday this week, we’re taking a look at the history of the post office and how it relates to Bowling Green.

The Postal Service has almost 250 years of history nationwide. Benjamin Franklin was the country’s first Postmaster General, appointed at the Continental Congress in 1775 during the American Revolution. The post office came to Kentucky in 1796, with the first official state office opening in Danville.

As the country grew and states were established all the way to California, the post office met challenges for delivering mail. Steamboats were used in the early and mid-1800s. By the 1870s, railroads carried mail faster than the Pony Express on horseback and stagecoaches—an example of a railroad post office, or P.O., boxcar can be found at Bowling Green’s Historic Railpark & Train Museum.

The federal post office in Bowling Green built in 1912 on Center Street was one of the grandest offices of its era. Still standing, it was constructed with white limestone in Renaissance Revival architecture. The building is now a federal courthouse and named for area politician William H. Natcher.

The zip code was established in 1963 for easier mail sorting and quicker delivery. Self-adhesive stamp tests began in 1974, and they were officially introduced to the public 18 years later. The main post office location in Bowling Green moved to 11th Street in the early 1980s, and moved once more to its current location on State Street about a year ago.