Smalltown post offices are still alive

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/7/99.

Government run post offices in small rural communities are becoming a thing of the past.

In the Paynesville area, the post office in Hawick was just closed on April 1. Regal lost its post office in 1980 and Lake Henry only had a post office for 21 years. St. Martin and Roscoe still have access to community post offices.

St. Martin
There was a pioneer post office opened in Leedston on June 8, 1868. When the village incorporated on March 3, 1891, its name was changed to St. Martin. Joseph Zimmerman was named the first postmaster.

The present post office building was erected in 1930 and the post office moved into the structure in 1940, according to Judy Schmitz, St. Martin Postmaster. She stated the post office has 127 boxes for the community. St. Martin does not have any rural routes.

The St. Martin Post Office observed its centennial in 1991.

The Roscoe Post Office changed from a government run business to a Community Post Office in 1990.

With the retirement of Viola Hormann, Roscoe, on Dec. 1, 1989, the post office talked about closing the small town office.

A public meeting was held to explain the future of the post office. At that time, those attending were informed one option for Roscoe was for a contractor to take over and manage a community post office.

Roger Sieben applied for and was granted the contract. During the summer of 1990, he remodeled a corner of the convenience store to house the post office. Seventy-two postal boxes were installed.

Viola Hormann recalls that at one time Roscoe had two rural routes. The Roscoe Post Office was also responsible for the St. Martin mail. "The truck would drop off the mail and we would sort out St. Martin, then somebody would deliver it to St. Martin daily," Hormann said. "There was a lot of mail to unpack," she added. Hormann was postmaster for 17 years.

At one time, Roscoe was the main post office drop off station for western Stearns County. Joe Hammes delivered mail with a team of horses.

The Regal Post Office closed its doors in 1980 when Margaret Weidner retired. The post office was down to 16 patron boxes.

The Regal Post Office opened in 1886 with Ole Halvorson as the first postmaster. George Weidner was the postmaster from 1910 to 1923 and had the post office in the general store. In 1924, his son Robert A. Weidner took over as postmaster.

"Whenever the federal administration changed hands, so did the post office," Tom Weidner, Regal, said.

The Regal Post Office was movable. From 1932 to 1938 R. Sporleder had the post office in the front part of his home. Then in 1938, it was moved to Magdalena Kemper's home, where it stayed until 1956. In 1956, the post office was moved to the Regal Cash Grocery store and was located in the back of the store. The store was connected to the Kemper home.

Kemper was postmaster from 1938 to 1971. When Kemper retired in 1971, her twin sister, Margaret Weidner, took over the post office.

In the history of the Regal Post Office, there had only been two postmasters not related to the Weidner family.

When the store closed in 1975, the post office boxes were moved to the front of the store.

Tom Weidner recalls Kemper's son and husband going to the train depot to get the mail three times a day. The mail would come into Regal on the noon train, again at 2:30 p.m., when the train returned from Belgrade, and then again at 10:45 p.m. The last person to hang mail for the train was Harold Bagley. Tom Weidner recalls that J.J. Manthi was the Regal rural route carrier from 1917 to 1944. Manthi had a stove inside his sleigh to keep warm on cold days. Other mail carriers included: Charles McClouth, Harold Norris, Elmer Madson, and Jerome Rapp.

The rural routes were taken over by the Belgrade Post Office in 1972. At that time there was talk of closing the Regal Post Office. But Margaret Weidner applied for, and got the designation "Community" Post Office, according to an article in the July 2, 1980, Paynesville Press. "She would weigh the packages, sort the mail, and hand-cancel every stamp on every envelope, about 25 a day," the article stated.

Lake Henry
The Lake Henry Post Office was started in 1883 with Michael Kraemer as the first postmaster.

The post office was discontinued in 1905. Edward Hess was the postmaster at the time.

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