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Headsville General Store and Post Office

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Early 1860s. 1971. National Museum of American History, The Mall, Washington, D.C.

When the Smithsonian Institution commemorated its 125th anniversary in 1971, officials decided to install a working post office in the National Museum of History and Technology in Washington, D.C. Before the installation, experts examined more than 600 structures in thirteen states to find an appropriate building to house the operation. An unassuming boardand-batten structure, which had served Headsville for more than 100 years but was then vacant, was declared the winner. Among the few decorative features are a scalloped board that takes the place of a cornice along side walls and continues as a raking cornice on the front gable above a shed-roofed porch. Inside, the building still contains original shelves and fittings, including a potbellied stove. The reconstructed building continues to house a post office in its second setting and adds vernacular charm to the building now termed the National Museum of American History.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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