In Scottsville, the mail came by boat, then train

Contributed by Evelyn Edson, president, Scottsville Museum

Time was, the mail came by boat. Twice a day the packet boat arrived, one from Richmond heading west and one from Lynchburg going in the other direction. Then came the train.
There was not so much mail in those days.  Sometimes the day’s haul would fit in the postmaster’s pocket.  The mail did bring newspapers, but not the quantity of junk mail we receive today.  Parcel post did not come along until 1913, reaching Scottsville in the 1940s.

Scottsville had had postal service back in the 18th century, but the first postmaster listed on the U.S. Postal website was Samuel Dyer, who held that position in 1814.  At that time, letters were addressed to “Scotts Ferry,” not changing to “Scottsville” until 1850.  Among the longest-serving postmasters was Samuel Gault, postmaster from 1893 to 1939, Ashby W. Mayo (1939-1958), Edward G. Gildersleeve (1958-1979), and David L. Lea (1979-2002).

The Post Office in Scottsville has always been a center of activity in town, though not always in the same place.  One of the earliest locations was in Harris’s store, 474-476 Valley Street.  In 1889, the Post Office moved down the street to 358 Valley Street, which is still called the Old Post Office Building.

When the Masons constructed their building at 137 Main Street (see below) in 1914, the Post Office was located on the ground floor.

In May 1964, a new post office building on West Main Street was dedicated with great fanfare that included speeches, prayers, singing of the National Anthem, and music by the Scottsville School Band. This building featured mail boxes in the lobby where residents gathered every day to pick up their mail.  The building experienced several floods, but it was the need for more space for delivery trucks that finally drove it out of town and up to the Scottsville shopping center in January 2008.  The move was greatly mourned by those who did not want to or could not drive to the new location, and a cluster of mailboxes was set up in the parking lot behind Victory Hall, not a place that encourages socializing.

Today Scottsville is the hub for three main rural routes, reaching into Fluvanna and Buckingham Counties.  The current postmaster is Angela R. Younker, and among the friendly faces that greet us at the counter is Barbara Brochu, who has worked for the post office for 35 years.


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