The Four Corners of Law: United States Post Office and Court House Part II


This week we'll visit the interior of the United States Post Office, a free offering for those inclined to explore the 1893 building and, most particularly, the Postal Museum.

The Postal Museum inside the Post Office is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed Saturday, Sunday, and holidays). Inside the building, turn right into the Post Office (where you can mail a letter or buy a stamp) and you'll see the entrance to the Postal Museum. The museum is small but packed with fascinating artifacts and information -- in the exhibits, on the walls, under glass, everywhere!

I really enjoyed seeing the old photographs, especially of the guardhouse that was on this site and destroyed by the earthquake in 1886. There are interesting before and after photos of the guardhouse, and while that building was impressive for its time, the current building is far grander and more imposing. 

The beautiful old script handwriting from bygone years permeates the old letters and envelopes throughout the Museum. It's easy to walk back in time as you explore the Museum with its antique roll top desk, wall telephone, the old Post Office bicycle, stamps and early postal machines. Look for the old post office boxes with the eagles on them.

Check out the letters from the Civil War era, framed and under glass on the wall. The Confederacy had its own stamps (as did the Union), but at the beginning of the war, the Charleston Post Office had to print its own. An enlarged reproduction of this "Charleston Stamp" is also framed and hanging on the wall.

The Museum mentions several of Charleston's "firsts." Under the list of all of Charles Town/Charleston's postmasters, there is an envelope addressed to London from 1778 with Charles Town's circular postmark, the first circular postmark used in America. Additionally, in 1831, Charleston was the first place in the United States to ship mail by the railroad, and that mail was carried by the first steam locomotive built entirely in the United States the "Best Friend" of Charleston.

David W. Wild was the Charleston Postmaster who founded this Postal Museum in 1984 and locals and visitors alike have been enjoying it ever since. I highly recommend this little-known gem of a museum in Charleston!

Next week we visit the fourth (and final) Corner of Law, St. Michael's Church.