A system of letter carrying through
Reach Township began at intervals as early as
1827, as mail was carried from the front (Whitby)
by travellers on foot.
Capt. George Leach, the first
storekeeper in Reach, also became the first postmaster,
opening a post office in Prince Albert in 1840.
By 1848 the first mail-stage was put into operation,
dropping off mail twice a week at the Reach post
office. This was increased to three-times weekly
Port Perry opened its first
post office in 1852, with local businessman Joseph
Bigelow being appointed its postmaster, a position
he held for 17 years.
The same year, Manchester and
Epsom opened post offices and daily mail began
to arrive by way of a daily mail-stage.
The first Greenbank post office
was located on the 12th conc., near the corner
of old Brock Rd. (Hwy. 12). It was operated out
of a general store kept by George Horne.
Scugog Island established its
first post office about 1860.
Perry Post Office
In August 1871 work commenced on a
new two-storey brick post office in Port Perry near
the north-west corner of Queen and John St. It operated
here until the early 1900s, when it was moved to
a temporary location at Rose & Co. in the Leonard
Block at corner of Queen and Perry St. It also moved
into a storefront in the Willard Block (now Royal
Bank building) for a short time.
The current post office was officially
opened in Jan. 1914 and has since become a landmark
in downtown Port Perry. At one point in 1972 it
appeared the building might be torn down and replaced
by a modern new structure, but fortunately a group
of local concerned citizens convinced the government
of its historic value, saving it from demolition.
Joseph Bigelow became the the first
postmaster in 1852, holding the post for 17 years.
At least two others held the
position during the ensuing years, Henry Gordon
and a Mr. Hurst, who was succeeded in 1883 by
John Warren Burnham.
Mr. Burnham held the position
of postmaster in Port Perry until his death in
1928, a total of 45 years, at which time his daughter
Mrs. Marion Orde took over the duties until Feb.
Next to become postmaster was
Mr. George Hull, a position he held until 1958
when his son Bruce assumed the roll. Bruce Hull
held the position for 24 years of the 37 he spent
working at the local post office.
In 1982, Mr. Hull retired and
Robert Walker assumed the position of postmaster
for Port Perry, a position held for 20 years before
Port Perry Postmasters, from
left, Joseph Bigelow, John Warren Burnham, Marion
Orde, George Hull, Bruce Hull and Robert
Alana Murphy, a 21 year employee of the Port Perry Post Office became the first permanent woman postmaster in 2002 and she serves to this day, September 2016.
The New Post
Plans to construct a new post office
in Port Perry began in 1909 when a property on the
south side of Queen St. was purhased.
It was almost three years later
that work got underway, and an official ceremony
was finally held in July 1912 at which time a stone
with a simple maple leaf was laid at the northwest
corner under the tower.
Construction was slow and ongoing
delays made it necessary to open the post office
in the Armouries Hall at the rear of the building
in the fall of 1913.
The clock, which was brought from
Enland, was installed in April 1914 and began operation
shortly after, although there were many problems
with keeping it running. Samuel Farmer reported,
"the clock has scarcely formed the habit of running
regularly yet. Sometimes it 'strikes' and sometimes
it goes 'on strike' and then of course, it neither
goes nor strikes."
The clock was wound manually once
a week and undergoes maintenance every couple of
weeks to keep it in good working order. John Warren
Burnham was the first postmaster in the new Post
Office, and served in that capacity until his death
Work begins on the first floor
of Post Office foundation.
Foundation: Walls two feet thick of white dressed
Basement: Ten feet high under entire building.
Tower Height: 61 feet from ground to top of the
Clock: located 26 ft from ground
First Floor: 14' high walls with 14 large windows.
Second Floor: 11.6' high walls, and equipped with
Exterior Walls: 17" thick on ground floor, 13" thick
for second floor and tower. Used 300,000 red bricks.
Post Office about 1913 during
The working space - 23 ft. 5 in. by 17 ft 3 in.
The ground floor of the post office was divided
into three main sections:
The public lobby - 8 ft 3 in. deep by 23 ft 5 in. long.
A hallway 8' 8" ran the full length of the back
of the building to the mail entrance on the west
The second floor will have a special office for
the Inland Revenue and three other large general
The attic floor will contain complete apartments
for the caretaker.
The armoury at the back of the post office was one-storey
without a basement. It was divided into an Armoury
Room 20' x26', Commissioned officers rooms, and
lavatories. The main entrance to from an alley way
running along the west side of the building.
Return to the
Top | Return
to Town History Index