Vacant Post Office Building May Become New Home For Historical Society
The post office at the municipal complex closed on Jan. 1.
The building that once housed the township-run post office at the Galloway Township Municipal Complex may not remain vacant very long.
A resolution proposing the building be used to house the Galloway Historical Society will go before council on Tuesday night, Jan. 22 Township Manager Arch Liston confirmed Thursday morning.
The post office, whose financial status had been uncertain for a couple years, closed as of Jan. 1. According to Liston, Mayor Don Purdy and Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, the decision to put the Historical Society in the building was not a factor in the decision to close the post office.
“We asked what they were going to do with that building 20 years ago,” Galloway Historical Society President Robert Reid said. “We heard it was going to close and we immediately wrote to the township and consider us for that building. We need a secure place for our artifacts.”
According to Liston, profits from the post office were down half a percent in 2012 from the previous year. The post office was generating $54,000 and expenses are $80,000, according to Liston.
The post office was in that location since 2002, shortly after the 08205 ZIP code was established. The presence of that post office allowed the ZIP code’s creation, and the township has been able to keep it. The drop boxes outside the post office also remain.
According to Reid, a portion of the first floor of the building will be reserved for GTV, the network that broadcasts township meetings live. The rest of the first floor will be set aside for use as a museum and a reception area. The second floor will be set aside for offices.
“We have four times more space,” Reid said. “”We know it’s a secure place. It’s larger than the Absecon museum.”
The Galloway Historical Society has met in the Elaine Conover Abrahamson Historical Room at the Galloway Municipal Complex, 300 East Jimmie Leeds Road since its inception. It’s held Open Houses in that building each of the last two months.
Reid joined the organization in the late 1980s, and became its president in 1992.
“That room is a multi-purpose room, and it’s not 100 percent secure,” Reid said. “We’re grateful to the township for the many years they allowed us to use it.”
“That’s not a good situation for them,” said Coppola, the council representative to the society. “These guys have been trying to find a place for years. They asked me about a place in Smithville and they asked about the post office building. They’re volunteers, and it doesn’t adversely affect the taxpayers.”
Coppola and Purdy expressed regret the township wasn’t able to keep the Post Office open, but were happy to see the building was going to be used by the Historical Society.
“The building has historic significance,” Purdy said. “It dates back to the 1800’s, so it’s pretty cool they get to go in there and use it for that purpose.”
“These guys have such a good track record,” Coppola said. “They’re involved with the Absecon Museum and they’ve done such a great job with that. The building in Absecon was in serious disrepair and they made it museum quality.”
Reid said the society is looking to emulate the display area contained in the Absecon Museum, located at Howlett Hall, a former bank that became a hardware store, and evolved into an unheated storage space.
“We’re all excited,” Reid said. “We’re ready to make a positive impact, and we hope to gain a lot of membership.”
Should council pass the resolution on Tuesday night, Reid said his society will continue to use the Elaine Conover Abrahamson Historical Room, as long as the township allows it, until the former post office building is ready for the group to move in and begin holding meetings.
The Galloway Historical Society has about 30 members, and the Historic Galloway Facebook Page has 125 members.