Līhu‘e Post Office Under Threat of Closure – See Update Below on How You Can Help
HHF joined the County of Kaua‘i, Lihu‘e Business Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation and hundreds of local residents and business owners in opposing the move and “disposal” of the post office. The preservation campaign included getting the word out about the threatened closure via door-to-door canvassing, urging attendance at the public meeting, press alerts and social media exposure. About 150 people attend the public meeting in late February.
The video below created by a team of students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, documents the process. It will be part of the PBS Hawai‘i “HikiNo” series.
What is it?
The first stand-alone post office on Kaua‘i built in 1939. The original proposed design, a Depression-era mission-style fortress, was met by a storm of protest by Kaua‘i citizens led by postal engineer Floyd Williams, who successfully championed a redesign. The revised design was the architecturally popular Spanish mission revival style prevalent in the 1930s. The post office is one of 3 Mediterranean-style buildings in the town core constructed during that decade.
It took 10 years from the time territorial senator Charles Rice introduced a resolution to the U.S. Congress to provide funds for a new post office until Līhu‘e Post Office’s dedication in 1939. According to members of the business and local community it is an integral part of life in Līhu‘e and complements efforts to enhance and grow a walkable downtown area.
What Threatens it?
Closure of Līhu‘e Post Office was announced via a Public Notice posted on January 23 in the lobby of the building located at 4441 Rice Street. The notice solicited public comments on a proposal to end postal operations at that facility. A follow-up message later clarified that the proposal being considered is to consolidate USPS retail operations currently located at 4441 Rice Street with our USPS Carrier Annex facility at 3230 Kapule Highway.
Why Does it Matter?
“The Lihue Post Office is an extremely important historic building in our town and for our island heritage. It also is an integral component in our work to enhance a walkable livable community in Līhu‘e,” said Pat Griffin, the immediate past Chair of the Kaua‘i Historic Preservation Review Commission, President of the Līhu‘e Business Association and HHF Board Member. “It’s a well-preserved example of a small single-purpose post office, is still in excellent condition and well used today.”
Pat said the post office is a key part of the revitalization plan. “If postal services are moved to the USPS facility adjacent to the airport, people will no longer be able to walk to the post office,” Griffin said. “They’ll have to get into cars and onto Kapule Highway. Such a location change is old-style thinking, exactly opposite of today’s accepted planning practices.”
Līhu‘e Post Office is on both the Hawai‘i State Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
6 THINGS YOU CAN DO
Be part of the grassroots campaign!
Below are 6 Actions you can take to let the USPS know you want the historic post office to remain a vibrant mainstay of downtown Lihue.
1. Volunteer with the Campaign – canvass for the cause in Lihue or Honolulu. Call 808-523-2900 to learn more.
2. Attend the Public Meeting on February 23, 6:00 p.m., at the
Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, Exhibition Room, 4191
Hardy Street, Lihue and let the USPS know you want the Lihue
Post Office to stay open. More than 150 people attended. THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME OUT!
3. Send a message to the Postmaster General:
Click here to take action online.
4. Contact our federal and state officeholders and ask them to keep Lihue Post Office open. (Tip: if emailing, write your best plea then cut and paste and send to each.)
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono, 202-224-6361, firstname.lastname@example.org
US Senator Brian Schatz, 202-224-3934, Malia_Paul@schatz.senate.gov
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard, 202-225-4906, TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
Gov. David Ige, 808-536-0084, email@example.com
HI Senate Pres. Ronald Kouchi, 808-586-6030, senkouchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov
HI Rep. James Kunane Tokioka, 808-586-6270, reptokioka@Capitol.hawaii.gov
HI Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura, 808-586-8435, repnakamura@Capitol.hawaii.gov
HI Rep. Dee Morikawa, 808-586-6280, repmorikawa@Capitol.hawaii.gov
5. Write the designated USPS contact (see sample letter and mailing address below):
6. Post a selfie showing you care.
Write “Save Lihue Post Office” on a paper and take a selfie
with it. Post to social media & encourage friends to do the same using hashtags:
#SaveOurPostOffice #ThisPlaceMatters #WhyICare
Include a line about why you care.
NOTE: Written comments must be received by March 25 and can be mailed to:
United States Postal Service
Attn: Dean Cameron
1300 Evans Avenue, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94188
SAMPLE MESSAGE FOR WRITTEN COMMENTS:
The Postal Service has announced its plan to relocate services from the historic Lihue Post Office on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The New Deal-era building has been a mainstay of downtown Lihue since it was built in 1939 and remains a key component of its economically vibrant historic core. I am opposed to the plan and ask that you keep our historic post office open.
More resources about historic post offices and how to save them.
From The National Trust for Historic Preservation:
From the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: