History of the Fruitland Post Office
by Sandi Hills

Welcome to the Payette County, IDGenWeb Project

Special Thanks to Eunice Guerrant,
whose grandparents owned the Eugene Stegner store, for helping with this information!

The E. A. Stegner General Store, which stood at the site of the newly constructed Fruitland Post Office, housed the first post office in Fruitland in about 1911.

Prior to this, the mail for Fruitland was delivered by carrier out of Payette via horse and buggy.

Eugene A. Stegner was the first postmaster and the only "male" to ever oversee the mail service in Fruitland. The mailboxes were placed in the back of his store.

Mr. Stegner was postmaster for approximately four years. An item in the Fruitland Banner dated March 23, 1915, revealed that, "Mrs. H. E. Robinson received word this week of her appointment by President Wilson as postmaster."

In June of 1915 the post office duties were officially turned over to Mrs. Robinson and the office was moved to the brick storeroom next to Johnsonís Store.

In the June 16, 1917, edition of the Fruitland Banner it was reported that H. E. Robinson was constructing a a new Federal Building which was to accommodate the Fruitland Post Office, but there was no record of whether or not this change ever took place.

Mrs. Robinson resigned as postmaster in May 1918. Mrs. R. G. Wilson, deputy postmaster, took charge until a successor was appointed.

In the July 5, 1918, edition of the Fruitland Banner it was reported that examinations for a postmaster at Fruitland would be held in Payette on July 27, 1918. An added note was that "the compensation of the postmaster at this office was $726 for the last fiscal year."

The post office was moved into new quarters in January, 1919. Mrs. Robinson assisted Mrs. Wilson in invoicing the stock and the office was turned over to Mrs. E. A. Stegner, who assumed the new duties the first of the year. The office was moved into the Stegner store and was housed in the front of that establishment at this time.

At the time of this move it was reported that "the sale of stamps and stamped envelopes for the past three months amounted to more than $490, which was said to be the best showing made for some time."

On March 3, 1919, an item appeared in the Fruitland Banner stating that the "Fruitland Post Office sold $8,889.00 in War Savings and Thrift Stamps since the first of last June."

The prosperity of the post office proved to be a downfall. On March 4, 1919, the Fruitland Post Office was robbed. The robbers pried open the back door, enter the safe and secured $762.69 in baby bonds, thrift stamps and stamps. A later report stated that the robbers were caught, a man and a boy, and that the boy confessed to the crime.

In March or April of 1921 the Fruitland office was made into a fourth class post office.

The January 9, 1922, edition of the Fruitland Banner reported that the post office made an excellent showing and that receipts were much better since Fruitland had a salaried post office. The last quarter of 1921 showed the largest sale of stamps for a comparative period in its history. During nine months sales totaled $1,620.96 and the last quarter totaled $630.44. There were 151 money orders for the past three months ranging from 30 cents to $75 and one international going to France. During that past week the post office received their first treasury stamps amounting to five $100 stamps, ten $25ís and 25 for $1.00.

On January 13, 1922, a new mail route of 27 miles was added. W. M. Baldwin, who had been delivering mail on Route 1, was appointed carrier of the route, which included Whiteley Bottom.

Miss Iona Johnson received her appointment as postmaster on January 22, 1922. Her authorization was dated January 27, 1922, and was to be effective for four years. Miss Johnson (who became Mrs. Gus Anderson in 1924) took charge on March 15 and office was moved from the E. A. Stegner store to the P. E. Johnson store. The February 16, 1922, edition of the Fruitland Banner reported, "On taking charge, Miss Johnson, who is 21 years old, will, in all possibility, be the youngest salaried postmaster in the state."

On March 27, 1925, it was announced that the post office salary was increased from $1500 to $1600 and the raise dated back to be effective from January 1.

Mrs. Andersonís appointment expired early in 1926 and Mrs. Laura Enberg became postmaster on April 16, 1926. She was assisted in her duties by Mrs. Esther Duell.

In the May 14, 1926, Fruitland Banner it was reported that an I. H. Adair of Payette, who was enroute to New Plymouth and driving a Buick car, swerved her automobile to avoid an oncoming machine and smashed into the post office building. The crash shattered a plate glass window, which was valued at $80.

The Fruitland Post Office underwent considerable improvements in July, 1926. Mrs. Enberg made the improvements at her own expense, according to the report.

After nine years of service, Mrs. Enberg retired. Mrs. William (Louella) Hollenbeck received her commission as postmaster on March 11, 1935, and took over the duties on March 16. She reportedly had many years of experience in office and book work and at one time was Payette County treasurer.

While she was postmaster, Mrs. Hollenbeck instigated the changing of the mail delivery from Payette by train to delivery by the Star Route carrier. She retired as postmaster on May 30, 1944.

Mrs. Lorn (Verna) Gilbert, who became a postal clerk on August 16, 1943, became acting postmaster when Mrs. Hollenbeck retired. Her official appointment as postmaster became effective on November 30, 1944 and she is still serving in that capacity.

On February 27 of 1953, the post office was moved from the P. E. Johnson building into the Ben Thomas building.

The Fruitland Post Office was moved into the newly constructed, ultra-modern post office building at the corner of Third and Iowa, the site of the original office, on January 12, 1968.

Mrs. Gus Anderson, who resides in Boise is the only former Fruitland postmaster still living.

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