Morningdale Post Offices and Its Postmasters
Boylston’s Post Office and Its Postmasters
The Morningdale Post Office
By Nancy Filgate & Inga Milbauer
From 1836 to 1970 postmasters in smaller towns were appointed by the Postmaster General, based on the recommendations of local congressman or townspeople. “Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office. Minors were ineligible, and U.S. citizenship was required for appointment to all but the smallest U.S. Post Offices. Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their Post Office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected through the merit system.” Women have served as postmasters in the United States since the Revolutionary War, and their official title has always been “postmaster”. The establishment date of a post office is usually the appointment date of its first postmaster. The date of his or her first day in office was typically delayed by up to two-months after the appointment.
The Federal Government placed the first Postal Service of Boylston, Massachusetts in the Sawyer’s Mills area as this was the most populated area of the town at the time. Established in 1825, it was first served by Postmaster Hezekiah Gibbs, the son-in-law of Aaron Sawyer. Gibbs owned and operated the Sawyer’s Mills store after the death of Aaron Sawyer, and served as postmaster for 3 years. This post office served the entire population of Boylston exclusively until 1850 when a second post office was opened in the center of Boylston. In 1850, the Boylston Centre Post Office was located in the Bond Center Store. John B. Heywood was appointed first postmaster of the Boylston Centre Post Office on September 18, 1850. For a detailed list of the postmasters of Boylston, please use the link on the bottom of the article. The name of the Boylston Centre Post Office was officially changed to Boylston Post Office on April 1, 1960. It continued to be located in the Center Store on the Boylston Common until April 1957 when it moved to a new building adjacent to the store.
The creation of the Wachusett Reservoir led to the closure of the Sawyer’s Mills Post Office on January 15, 1903. The Boylston Centre Post Office became the only post office in town until 1922 when a second post office was established in Morningdale. The Morningdale section of the town of Boylston lies in the southwestern corner, bordered by Route 140 in the east and north, and by the Shrewsbury and West Boylston line in the south and west. Two 17th century land grants were part of the original Morningdale area: the Malden Church Grant from 1665 and the Sewall Grant from 1695. Until 1890 this area of Boylston remained rural, with only eight houses and one mill.4 For more information about this mill, please read the article The History of Banister Mill and Dam by Carrie Crane. The settlement of Morningdale expanded with displaced families from Sawyers Mills as the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir system began. Some families relocated from Boylston, but many families were able to re-settle in the available land within Morningdale, remaining in the boundaries of their hometown. By the 1930s, Morningdale had two churches, a store, school and a post office.
In May 1922, the Morningdale Post Office was established in the John Love House on 33 Main Street. This dwelling was built around 1865 by John Love, an Irish immigrant. Around 1870 it was destroyed by a fire, but rebuilt by Hugh Howard. Donald and Jane Cook purchased the house around 1882. They were instrumental in the growth of Morningdale, and Cook Street is named after them. In 1920, the John Love house was sold to Frank H. Paul who added a grocery store.5 He became the first postmaster of the Morningdale Post Office, confirmed on May 20, 1922.
On November 26, 1923 Bessie Patterson became the second postmaster, followed by Henry E. Olsen who was confirmed on July 6, 1928. George F. Christenson was confirmed as postmaster on December 11, 1929. Mrs. Mary A. Anderson succeeded him in 1937, she was confirmed as postmaster on June 23, 1938 and served until 1944. At that time Boylston had two female postmasters. Mrs. Kate A. Taylor was the postmaster at the Boylston Centre Post Office.
Mrs. Marguerite Bjurling assumed charge as acting postmaster in July 1944. She was confirmed on January 19, 1945 and served until she resigned on July 20, 1969.6 John F. Shaughnessy assumed charge as officer-in-charge in July 1969 and became postmaster on June 12, 1971. A fire in April 1974 caused considerable damage to Rock’s Package Store, a two-room apartment and the post office. Therefore, the Morningdale Post Office moved to 63A Main Street. In October 1977, the post office occupied the whole building on 63 Main Street.7
The Morningdale Post Office became the only post office in Boylston in January 1978. The post office in the center of town closed because the building was outdated and prone to flooding. All postal service was transferred to the Morningdale Post Office, and the Boylston Post office was officially discontinued on June 15, 1979.
To provide postal service to the residents of Boylston living in the center and the areas near Berlin and Northborough a community post office was established in the Boylston Center Store in late June 1979. A community post office, located in and run by a non-postal facility under contract to the post office, provides services such as post office boxes, parcel post service, and stamp sales. The community post office retained the Boylston zip code, 01505. The official post office for the town, however, was the Morningdale Post Office, with zip code 01530. This was not to last, as in April 1982, a petition to change the name of the Morningdale Post Office to Boylston Post Office was submitted to Andrew J. Sacco, manager of the Worcester area post offices. This eventually led to a special town meeting on Monday January 9, 1984 where residents voted to change the name from Morningdale to Boylston.8 On April 1, 1984 John F. Shaugnessy became postmaster of the Boylston Post Office.
The post office continued to be located in Morningdale until 1992 when, due to structural problems with the building, the post office moved into a mobile unit. It was placed next to the building on 63 Main Street until October 1993 and then moved to the new location on Route 140. This meant that the carriers had to go to West Boylston to sort the mail before delivery, while the service part of the post office remained in Boylston.9 Finally, on Monday June 27, 1994 the new post office opened on 67 Shrewsbury Street.
Acknowledgements and Footnotes
4 Boylston Historical Series by Bruce D. Filgate, 2012, p. 384
5 Boylston Historical Series by Bruce D. Filgate, 2012, p. 394
7 Boylston Historical Series by Bruce Filgate, 2012, p. 398
8 Della Valle, P. (1984, January 10). All articles approved. Daily Item
9 Ridinger, L. (1994, June 30). New post office open on Rte. 140. The Banner, page 7
Boylston Historical Series by Bruce Filgate, 2012, Vol. XI The Boylston Sketch Book by William O. Dupuis, B.A., M.A
Boylston Historical Society & Museum Photographs Collection
Boylston Post Office Photograph Collection
Editor Nancy A. Filgate, Boylston Historical Society and Museum, Inc., Director
French, G.R. (1974) Even fire can’t stop U.S. postal service. Gazette
Publishted 10 June 2022
Boylston Historical Society and Museum, Inc.