The Parma Post Office 1827-1901

Prior to 1827, the U.S. Mail for Parma, Ohio residents was delivered and outgoing mail was picked up by stagecoach drivers at the Old Stone Tavern (built in 1817) along the Wooster Pike (a.k.a. Pearl Road). Early area residents living in this section of Parma Township would travel to the tavern to pick up their mail and packages. The Old Stone Tavern near Mill Street was operated by the Conrad Countryman family. The stagecoaches with passengers aboard had begun traveling along the Wooster Pike from Cleveland southward to Columbus, Ohio in 1820. The Old Stone Tavern later became an apartment building at 6363 Pearl Road and was torn down in 1959 for a gas station.    

U.S. Post Office mail pickup started in Parma Township on January 18, 1827 in the home of Postmaster Samuel Freeman. The residents of Parma Township had to travel by foot or by horse drawn wagon to pickup delivered mail and leave any outgoing mail. Incoming mail arrived by stagecoach contractors that carried mail under an accepted government bid contact. The stagecoach contractors followed a strict schedule mandated by the Post Office Department. The bidding process for successfully winning the contract with the lowest bid involved placing a bond sum of $300.00 and a specific bid amount to operate the specific route for the given time period required of four years. Each mail route was assigned a route number by the Post Office Department. Any outgoing mail was transferred to another stagecoach that was traveling with paid passengers aboard northward to Cleveland or Southward to Wooster or Columbus, Ohio along the Wooster Pike.      

The postmasters of a small community similar to Parma Township worked in a 4th Class type of post office inside their own homes. Each postmaster held a local political office appointed by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Congress. When a national election was held and a change in national party leadership occurred, new postmasters were appointed. The former postmasters lost their positions to be replaced by newly appointed postmasters. The mail was picked up and delivered to a new location in Parma Township. A signed legal document was filed with the Post Office Department listing the new location or the current location of the local post office location along a designated postal route number. In 1852, the Parma Post Office was along designated Route 18 on a list of Western Reserve postal routes. For example, Oliver Emerson signed such a document in June 23, 1870 along Postal Route Number 9068.

The list of Parma postmasters and their terms in office are as follows:  Samuel Freeman (1/18/1827 to 11/4/1839); William Humphrey (11/5/1839 to 11/3/1846); Henry Humphrey (11/4/1846 to 2/26/1847); Dudley S. Humphrey (2/27/1847 to June 25, 1849);  Oliver Emerson ( 6/26/1849 to 11/24/1856); Lewis B. Whitney (11/25/1856 to 4/22/1857); Cyrus Ingersoll (4/23/1857 to 4/24/1861); and Oliver Emerson (4/25/1861 to 2/13/1886 [when he died in office]). Minerva H. Emerson became the temporary Post Mistress (3/12/1890 to 11/30/1901). Her cousin, Mrs. Lucian Standen, worked in the Parma Post office with her. The Parma Post Office was closed and discontinued on 11/30/1901 and mail was delivered by Rural Free Delivery (RFD) postal delivery wagon from South Brooklyn, Ohio to individual mailboxes along designated postal route roads in Parma Township. The beginning of RFD mail service had begun in 1896. The closing of the Parma Post Office was part of a Post Office Department 4th Class Post Office cost saving plan. 

The Oliver Emerson home (built 1831) still stands at 5856 Pearl Road that once was the location of the former Parma Post Office. In 1967, the Midpark Post Office was located at 6716 Pearl Road in Parma Heights. In 1968, the Midpark Post Office was relocated at 13301 Smith Road in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. In 1994, the Middleburg Heights Post Office building was enlarged and there was a public tour held of the new and improved facility. The Middleburg Heights Southland Post Office was renamed in July 2010 for David John Donafee. He was a post office carrier delivering mail, who had been struck by a car while crossing York Road, near Letterman Drive at CCC-Western Campus in February 2008.

Kenneth Lavelle

Paralegal. Local Historian.

Read More on Parma Heights
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:42 AM, 11.03.2014