Lancaster’s first post office was a small house situated on the northwest corner of 11th Street and Antelope Avenue, the present-day equivalent of Milling Street and Sierra Highway. William Baylis is the first known postmaster, recorded in 1884.
Mrs. Ford became postmistress in 1889, one of the first federal jobs open to women. Her husband was an architect and the preacher at the M.E. Church, and they lived next to Lancaster’s first grammar school.
In November 1891, the local paper reported: “All passenger trains passing through Lancaster now take in and put off mail at this place. We now have four mails a day.”
The second post office was in the home of J.F. Dunsmoor, postmaster from 1897 to 1913. It was located on the south side of 10th Street just east of Beech Avenue, and old-timers have reported this being the center of life in Lancaster around 6 p.m. when the mail came.
In 1914, the post office moved into the Leo Harris General Merchandise Store at the southwest corner of Antelope Avenue and 10th Street. Harris, a popular merchant and civic leader, was one of the first prominent Jewish residents in Lancaster. The Gottschalk’s-Harris Department Store, previously located in the AV Mall, was part of the Harris family chain. Eventually, this third post office was no longer adequate to service the growing population and it was time to move again.
Photos courtesy of MOAH Collections