It has been brought to my attention that the Jasper County Historical Society has decided to tear down the Parr Post Office at the Jasper County Fairgrounds and replace it with a replica.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand how this will completely ruin the authenticity and integrity of this historical building. It’s not like it is past being “fixed up”; it can be, fairly simply.
What they are proposing would have Dale Brunton rolling over in his grave. If the log cabin or the school house would be damaged, would they tear them down, too, and build replicas? What’s the difference?
A little history lesson. The Parr Post Office stood in the lot east of Harry Brunton’s house in Parr, which was actually owned by Harry, and decommissioned in 1968. Dale Brunton was worried about what was to become of the building, so Vera Randolph (the postmistress) gave it to him — all of it. He then donated it to the historical society with the stipulation that if anything happened to it or the historical society, it would be returned to the family.
I am the only person at that historical society who knows exactly (to the very inch) where that post office stood and what it originally looked like. I was in it every day of my life (as all the kids in Parr were) to get a piece of Bazooka bubble gum from Vera. Ask any kid from Parr (many of which still live here) and they can tell you their own remembrances of the post office and visiting (either inside or outside) with Vera.
The building had no electricity, no running water and no phone, and was heated with a small LP heater. It was a crude and simple building. The only light was a kerosene lamp on her desk.
Around 1965, an LP gas lantern was installed and mounted on the back wall. This lantern has mysteriously disappeared since Dale donated the post office along with the front door with a mail slot. The original screen door is lying in the back. It should be restored to what it was.
Back in the late 1950s, the Journal Courier did a newspaper article on Vera Randolph and the Parr Post office and it was recognized as the smallest post office in the United States (it measures 10 feet by 12 feet). This building should be on the historic registry, not be torn down.
Even though I am a member of the historical society, I was never consulted about what they planned to do with the building and I will do everything in my power to stop this travesty from happening to this beloved post office.
Stop by the Jasper County Fairgrounds and see for yourself that the building does not need to be replaced, it just needs some TLC. It has recently had a new roof, floor and interior walls. All it really needs is to be raised and put on a cement block foundation, and shored up so the doors will open and close properly.
The outside walls are mostly in good condition, only a few need replaced. There are some loose nails but it just needs to be tightened. It should not take much money to do everything that needs to be done. The historical society will not have to pay for anything.
We have already been overwhelmed with support and generosity for this project from those who now know about what is going on.
Everyone we have talked to is appalled, outraged and furious that the JCHS would even think of doing this. We would like everyone to voice their opinion to the historical society so that they will change their minds and restore it to its original state.
The Jasper County Historical Society is on Facebook and has its own website. Their meetings have been postponed because of the pandemic, but they still read their posts and mail.
I am willing to oversee this restoration and maintain the building for as long as I am is able. Anyone interested in this project can contact me at 219-863-4031 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us save the Parr Post Office.