The original Italian Renaissance Post Office building in Old Pasadena (Oliver Goodall Post Office) is a beautiful building with a rich history.
By Rena Kurlander
Back in 1923, the people of Pasadena passed a bond issue of $3.5 million to establish a civic center. Bennett, Parsons and Frost firm was commissioned to draw up the plan. Garfield Avenue was established as an axis, with City Hall being in the center, Pasadena Public Library to the north, and Pasadena Civic Auditorium to the south. Also included in the plan was a Police Department, a Municipal Court, YMCA, YWCA, and Southern California Gas Company (currently used as Pasadena’s permit center). But the beautiful Italian Renaissance Post Office was already built prior to the plan in 1913, and therefore was considered a contributing building to the original look of Pasadena’s Civic Center District plan.
- The original building was designed by architect Oscar Wenderoth in 1913, and a respectful addition, designed by Marston and Maybury, was built in 1938.
- The exterior of the building features low relief ornamentation while the interior features colorful marble for its walls.
The building continues to serve as a post office to this day. At first glance, you might think the flag pole has been relocated, but upon close examination of the two photos above, you’ll realize that the two flag poles have been reduced to one.
In 2012, the building was renamed “First Lieutenant Oliver Goodall Post Office Building,” in honor of the Altadena resident and Tuskegee Airman who lived in Altadena from 1961 until his death in November 2010.
- This Post Office was the only post office in Pasadena at the time the Civic Center was designed. It is now a branch.
- The second floor, and portions of the first floor, currently house agents of the Federal Law Enforcement and Security Arm of the U.S. Postal Service.
If you happen to visit the building, you may want to check the service windows that are in the old school style, in addition to the interior wall decorations. Also, make sure to look up and be awed by the beautiful lighted stained glass ceiling tiles.
Rena Kurlander is a resident of San Gabriel valley.
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