The Belmont Post Office
The first Belmont post office was in fact located in Emmet's General Store, opposite the railroad station. Mr. Emmet carried the mail as part of his store's business, along with potatoes, flour and other goods. His postal services weren't up-to-date, even for the time, but his customers liked it, and were "real satisfied" with a place where they could get their news, mail and groceries, all at once.
When Mr. Emmet died, Mr. and Mrs. Robert McGowan took over the post office, locating it in their house. Mr. McGowan was a Democrat, and Mrs. McGowan and Republican, which worked out rather nicely, as depending on who was in office, each of them got to be postmaster. However, Mr. McGowan become a Republican after the nomination of Al Smith for president, which he disapproved of. This made the family united, but unfortunately, when Roosevelt took office, defeating Hoover, this pushed the McGowans out of the post office role.
Oh Say Can You See!
After the McGowan incident, a Mrs. Rousseau took over the post office. An early settler and well-known businesswoman, her family had a long history of serving the U.S. government: she was directly related to Francis Scott Key, author of the "Star Spangled Banner!".
At the time (1934), there was no formal location for the post office, and Mrs. Rousseau found it necessary to find one. Finially, she chose an empty store on Ralston Avenue and El Camino, opposite the railroad station. It was a convenient location, although it lacked the necessary equipment. However, the old Palo Alto post office was being torn down, and Rousseau went there and purchased (with her own money) that office's equipment and fixtures.
Now fully equipped, the new Belmont post office was one to be proud of.It had (from Palo Alto) wonderful equipment, and Rousseau ran it expertly. At the time, Belmont had a population around 2,000, and the post office was a hub of activity. In fact, it was voted the best third-class post office in the country.
The Army, the Navy, and the Post Office
1940 saw the Belmont post office become increasingly saturated with mail, as a result of the fact that several army operations were located in Belmont. A Mr. O'Brien took over as postmaster at that time, and hired the Belmont post office's first employee in 1942, a mail clerk named Dorothy Lyall.
In 1946, Mr. O'Brien died, and while his wife took over as postmaster for a bit of time, in 1947 the mayor secured Harold W. Crandall, an employee of the San Francisco post office, to be postmaster for Belmont. Crandall used his unique forsight and understanding of the post office to make the Belmont post office again one of the best in the country.
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