Photos courtesy of the Winona County Historical Society.
The "new" Post Office was dedicated in 1963. The "old" Post Office was on Main and Fourth streets. It was built in 1891 and razed in 1963.
The Post Office on West Fifth Street was sold last week to the U.S. Postal Service. The change in ownership will mean nearly $50,000 less in property taxes annually for the city, county, school district and state.
The property, with an assessed value of over $1.5 million, was previously owned by Lincoln Loan & Finance Corporation, an Arizona bank, and contributed to the city and county tax base. Under the ownership of the U.S.
Postal Service, the building and land will be considered tax exempt, and other property owners will have to absorb the loss in tax funding.
About a third of the city's property value is tax exempt, with the universities and the technical college, along with the city's Port Authority, some of the largest property owners not required to pay traditional property taxes.
Although the current U. S. Post Office was built in 1963, many longtime Winonans consider it the "new Post Office." The old Post Office, which sat at the northwest corner of Fourth and Main streets, was razed over fifty years ago, but is remembered fondly by those who mourn its loss as an example of river town stone architecture built at the end of the nineteenth century (in 1891). Noted architect C.G. Maybury was superintendent of the project, which cost $160,000.
The present post office building was erected on about half of what was then the city's beloved Central Park, original home of the Princess Wenonah fountain. At the time, the destruction of the park caused quite a ruckus, and rumors ran rampant concerning the question of how the private investors in the building project on that block had managed to "steal" it out from under the noses of the public.