Post office - Poughkeepsie NY
The magnificent Poughkeepsie post office was built by the Treasury Department as part of the New Deal in 1937-39. The architecture is a kind of colonial revival done in the rough stone style of the Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley. The post office lobby contains exceptional murals depicting six scenes in local and state history (see accompanying mural page). The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
FDR took a keen interest in post offices near his family home in Hyde Park. As the wikipedia entry describes it:
“The building was the second of five post offices in Dutchess County built during the New Deal… It was the first for which President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a native of Hyde Park, took a close personal interest in the design. He had written in 1928 of his desire to preserve the stone buildings in the Hudson Valley built by early Dutch settlers of the region, including his ancestors, which he feared were disappearing. The simple and modest style of the stone houses built by all those early settlers regardless of wealth was, to him, an example that should be followed by everyone.
Earlier in the decade, nearby Beacon had gotten a new post office in local fieldstone designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood. When Poughkeepsie’s turn came, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau demanded that it be made of irregular fieldstone in the Dutch style, modeled after a demolished county courthouse that had been built in 1809. Architect Eric Kebbon followed the design but originally turned in a building that was to use granite. Roosevelt personally ordered him to redesign it to his specifications and would not let construction proceed until it was.
Roosevelt laid the cornerstone himself at a dedication ceremony during celebrations of the 250th anniversary of Poughkeepsie’s settlement on October 13, 1937. Five hundred workers would spend the next two years building the 63,000-square foot (5,670 m²) structure….The success of its design inspired Roosevelt to push for similar stone post office buildings in other Duchess County towns along the river…”
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE