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Geneva, Illinois Post Office
Photo of brick building, U.S. flag

This Geneva, Illinois Post Office was named to the 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, National Treasures. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

Photo ©Matthew Gilson / National Trust for Historic Preservation

Most Endangered Historic Places:

This post office in Geneva, Illinois, and iconic post office buildings across the USA, are endangered, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The post office building in America often reflects a region's architecture, whether it be colonial designs in New England, Spanish influences in the southwest, or the "frontier architecture" of rural Alaska. Throughout the U.S., post office buildings reveal the country's history and a community's culture. But today many post offices are closing, and preservationists worry about the fate of the fascinating and iconic PO architecture.

Why Are Post Offices Hard to Save?

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is generally not in the real estate business. For this agency to decide the fate of buildings they've outgrown or have no use for is a difficult and often unclear process.

In 2011, when the USPS cut operating expenses by closing thousands of post offices, an outcry from the American public stalled the closures. Developers and the National Trust became frustrated with the lack of a clear vision for preservation of architectural heritage. However, most post office buildings are not even owned by the USPS, although the building is often a centerpiece of a community. Preservation of any building often falls to the locality, who has a special interest in saving a piece of local history.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation named America's Historic U.S. Post Office Buildings to its list of endangered buildings in 2012. Let's journey across the U.S. to explore this endangered piece of Americana.

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