Santa Monica Post Office
In August 2012, the United States Postal Service (USPS) approved the closure of the 1938 Santa Monica Post Office at 1248 Fifth Street. The City of Santa Monica filed an appeal, and the Santa Monica Conservancy, the Los Angeles Conservancy and other local advocates pressed the USPS to reconsider this plan.
Advocates have also pursued proactive measures including a possible local landmark nomination once the building is transferred into private ownership.
Good news! On August 27, 2013, in a 5-1 vote the Santa Monica City Council agreed to accept a preservation covenant for the Post Office.
Well over one hundred post offices in California and nearly thirty in Los Angeles County (not all are historic) have been slated for either closure or relocation by the USPS. The Conservancy has learned a lot about this issue, and we stand ready to help community members who want to take action.
While not every post office is historic, for those that are – in Culver City, Santa Monica, South Gate, and Venice, for instance – federal law requires the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to abide by national preservation laws (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act) and ensure their long-term preservation through some form of enforceable restriction or condition put in place before the disposal and sale of the building.
The Conservancy believes that the Santa Monica Post Office qualifies as a historical resource, and urges the U.S. Postal Service to do whatever it can to ensure this important local landmark is protected.
If following all appeals and a decision is ultimately made by the Postal Service to vacate the Santa Monica Post Office, we urge the Postal Service to do all it can do to ensure this historic building is protected in the future.
We ask the Postal Service to be proactive in finding an appropriate owner who understands the significance of the building and can work with the community to maintain public access in the future.
We also urge the Postal Service to pursue voluntarily nominating the Santa Monica Post Office for local landmark designation through the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission. This will ensure proposed alterations are reviewed by the City and would allow subsequent owners to take advantage of various incentives such as code flexibility offered under the California Historical Building Code and property tax relief through the Mills Act.
Speak out. Make sure your voice is heard by speaking out against the closure of the historic Santa Monica Post Office and others throughout L.A. County. Send a message to your elected officials urging them to take action, asking them to reach out to the USPS and keep historic post offices open wherever possible and protected if sold.
Spread the word. Encourage others to write letters.