Week of November 16, 2015: The answer is…The Little Post Office (#ExploringVirginia)

DSCN3521Location: The Little Post Office, 207 Starling Avenue

The Little Post Office is a one story Queen Anne style structure that was built in 1893. This building was used as a contract post office by John B. Anglin until 1917. The exterior and one room interior of the building are detailed in the Queen Anne Style.

The structure has a front gabled roof and is constructed out of brick. In the mid 20th century a frame construction building was attached to the post office. There are some unique architectural features on the little post office. The building has stained glass; it’s not the original stained glass. There is also a circular vent with a star-burst detail under the roof gable.



The rear wing appears to have been built soon after 1893. There is a side entry with an early glass-paneled door, bracketed stoop, and modern brick steps. The wing is connected to the brick section by frame infill sided with wood shingles. The wing may have served as a servant’s quarter or perhaps a laundry or kitchen. The interior of the post office still retains some original features; the doors and windows have molded surrounds with turned corner blocks, the mantel has molded pilasters, and there is a brick-lined fireplace and hearth. There were some changes made to original materials that were badly damaged. The features that are in the rear addition are more modern.

The Little Post Office is related to two traditional Virginia building types: the country or small town post office and the domestic office. Many times, fourth-class post offices were in general stores or small buildings. Often there was a low volume of mail being passed through them. The domestic office stood in the yard near a principal dwelling and could serve for a number of uses. These types of offices were often finely built and highly detailed buildings that served to ornament the grounds where they stood.

If you are interested in learning more about outbuildings, one interesting book that focuses on Virginia and the Tidewater Virgina and Maryland area is Kitchens, Smokehouses, and Privies: Outbuildings and the Architecture of Daily Life in the Eighteenth-Century Mid-Atlantic by Michael Olmert, Cornell University Press, ISBN  978-0801447914.

To see buildings from Henry County that have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, click here.


To learn more about architectural styles:


To learn more about local history visit the Martinsville and Henry County Historical Society web page at http://www.mhchistoricalsociety.com/ and visit the heritage center at the Historic Courthouse, 1 East Main Street.

Be on the lookout for the next architectural treasure clue.


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