P.O.ed and looking for docents in Orange

Want to help save the historic Plaza Post Office in Orange? Mayor Carolyn Cavecche writes, "The Plaza Branch and Olive Post Office Optimization Study has begun: The outcome has not been determined, but the USPS is looking for community input before making a final decision to keep both or either branch open. The Community Meeting for Orange input is October 6th at 6 pm at the Orange Post Office at 1075 N. Tustin St."

The endangered Plaza Branch, shown above, is located on the corner of Lemon St. and W. Chapman Ave. Adding to the Mayor's comments, our lovely Orange correspondent writes, "This is the oldest working post office in all of Orange County and there is a threat that the USPS is going to close this branch and auction off the property..." She says many locals fear the property will end up with some sort of inappropriate reuse.

With the threat of the entire U.S. Postal Service going belly-up, this may be just the first in a long string of attempts by communities to find appropriate forms of adaptive reuse for these historically significant buildings. Orange County is lucky to have some really amazing post offices, including Spurgeon Station in Santa Ana, the Plaza Branch in Orange, the Fullerton P.O. (with its wonderful WPA mural), the Main Street P.O. in Huntington Beach, the Wild West-themed branch on Balboa Island, and numerous others.

Let me suggest the following to communities that may suddenly find themselves with an empty historic post office someday soon: How about a museum dedicated to the history of your city? These old post offices are made mostly of non-flammable materials, are located in community hubs or prominent locations, are already ADA compliant, have loading docks and plenty of storage space, and are already historically significant in their own right. What more could you ask for in a museum building?

Speaking of Orange, the Old Town Preservation Association (OTPA) is looking for docents to staff Chapman University’s Elliott Alumni House (formerly the Victorian Tea House) at 204 North Olive St., during their bi-yearly historic homes tour on Nov. 5th and 6th. Shifts run from 10am to 1pm and from 1pm to 4pm. They need approximately five docents per shift, for a total of ten docents per day. Volunteers will be given one free ticket to the home tour. If you're interested in helping, contact lead docent Sue Vaurs via email.