A RED LETTER YEAR FOR BARNESVILLE P.O.BARNESVILLE POST Office can observe two significant dates this year, making it a red letter year for postal service in the village. It was 200 years ago in 1810 that the first post office was established in the village of Barnesville. It was 125 years later, in 1935, that the local post office had its own building making this the 75th year of the postal service in its present building.THE FIRST post office was located in town founder, James Barnes' store on the site of the former Mayfair Shop, next to present day Turk's Trophy Shop. Next it moved with Barnes to his new location at the northeast corner of Chestnut and Main. Through the years, when a new president was elected, a new postmaster was named and the post office moved to that person's location. All were located on Main Street between South Lincoln and Broadway.IN THE earliest years, mail was brought by horse and rider to St. Clairsville, Morristown or Fairview where someone from Barnesville would go to collect it every week or two. As Zane's Trace, later the National Road, improved, deliveries to those locations were more frequent. But, it wasn't until 1855, after the trains came through Barnesville, that daily mail was received.IN HIS STORY OF BARNESVILLE, Dr. D.O. Sheppard devotes several pages to the evolution of the postal service here. He notes the rarity of suitable paper on which to write letters and the absence of envelopes for several decades after mail service began. Persons had to make their own envelopes until machines were developed to manufacture them at a reasonable cost. Stamps were also rare and not mass produced by the government for many years. He traces the development of local delivery, then rural delivery, parcel post and methods of transportation of area mail.AFTER 125 years of the post office being housed in rental properties, efforts were made for a government owned building for that purpose. It was in the mid 1930s, during the Great Depression, that Congress approved a grant for such a building. It cost $45,000 for building and equipment.AT THE building's dedication on Saturday, September 14, 1935, the assistant postmaster general and Congressman Lawrence Imhoff were the principal speakers. Mayor C.C. Bulger gave a history of the postal service in Barnesville; a choir from the A.M.E. Church sang and the high school band played.IN CONTRAST to the dignity of the occasion, an unfortunate incident took place during the dedication. Enterprise headlines describe the incident: "Pickpockets Busy in Crowd at Post Office Dedication. Five Persons Victims of Light-Finger Artists."DR. SHEPPARD wrote just five years later, "Nothing has changed more completely since the founding of Barnesville than has the mail and mailing system." He could repeat that today. It would take volumes to list all the changes made by the Postal Service during the 75 years since the present post office building was dedicated. It took the citizenry many years to get their dream of a permanent home for their postal service, but they pursued and prevailed.A COMMENT made by a speaker at the dedication sums up the situation then and still applies. It was: "If an inscription were to be carved on this building none more fitting could be than one found in the Bible -- 'Where there is no vision, the people perish.' Because this town had a vision, it has today this beautiful building. It is a monument to a vision. In years to come, as we pass through its doors, it should be a reminder to all of us that where there is vision, the people flourish."jeanealities is compiled by Jean Palmer Davies, lifetime Barnesville Enterprise associate. She may be reached at jeandavies@comcast.net.