The fight to save the on Wall Street continues, but advocates of preserving and maintaining services in the 77-year-old structure took one step forward Wednesday. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the local post office to its 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The annual list spotlights “important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable repair.”
La Jollans first learned that the Postal Service proposed a relocation and sale of the Post Office in January.
On Jan. 11, the Postal Service said the La Jolla Main Post Office on the corner of Wall Street and Ivanhoe Avenue would be relocated to a smaller location within 1 mile of the current site.
That same month a representative for the U.S. Postal Service told Patch, “The Postal Service appreciates the fact that customers like those in La Jolla hold their local Post Offices in high regard and value our products and services. That’s why we are taking necessary steps nationwide to ensure the long-term viability of the Postal Service by identifying sensible ways to reduce our costs and maintain affordable, efficient service.”
Since then a small, but motivated, community group formed – Save the La Jolla Post Office Community Task Force. The Task Force continues to work with elected officials and drafted requested amendments to current federal legislation that could save the post office.
While the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognition does not save the post office, it does show national support.
“Our communities’ engaging spirit has been noticed and our story has reached across the country and resonated with other communities facing threats to their beloved post offices,” said Sherri Lightner on Wednesday.
“Residents and merchants of La Jolla can be grateful today for the awareness that this brings to our efforts to save our La Jolla Post Office,” she said.
Community advocate and Save the La Jolla Post Office Task Force member Joe LaCava said designation by the National Trust for Historical Preservation raises the efforts to save the La Jolla Post Office to a national level and adds hurdles for the Postal Service and any potential buyer.
"It lets potential developers know that there will be a battle if they want to do something with this building," said LaCava.
Save Our Heritage Organisation has also taken up the fight for the La Jolla Post Office with focus on the 1930s mural by Belle Baranceanu and WPA-era post office architecture.
The San Diego-based organization has said, “a mélange of Spanish architectural styles mixed with Art Deco and WPA Modern, this small building is widely considered a community asset well suited to La Jolla’s village scale and atmosphere.” And added that to lose this building “would be an unnecessary and senseless violation of La Jolla community life and fabric.”
The La Jolla Post Office is one of four post offices on the most endangered list.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded national nonprofit dedicated to saving historic places, said more than 230 sites were named to the “most endangered” list in 25 years, and only a handful of those sites have been lost.
A representative from the Postal Service said the USPS Facilities Dept. is going through all the comments that were submitted.
"A recommendation has not been finalized. Once a recommendation is made, it will be made public and there will be a 15 day appeal period," said Eva Jackson, with the Postal Service.
Additional locales on the 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places are Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota, Princeton Battlefield in New Jersey, and three bridges over the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.