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Best Post Office Phoenix 2009 - The Federal Building United States Post Office

The Federal Building United States Post Office

The Federal Building United States Post Office

522 N. Central Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-253-9648

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We're in love with the downtown post office, plain and simple. It speaks to our fondness for old architecture, with its wide stone steps leading up to the front door, over which a giant lantern sways in front of an elaborate glass-and-grillwork doorway framed by concrete columns on either side. Inside we can't help but ooh and ahh over old (and rather cheesy) Southwestern-themed murals, commissioned in 1938 by the Fine Arts Section of the Treasury Department and painted by La Verne Black and Oscar E. Berninghaus. We usually make a beeline for the rows of ancient P.O. boxes, with their coppery metal doors, oversize keyholes, and little glass windows etched with gold and red numbers in an old-timey font. Built between 1932 and 1936, the two-story structure's maiden name is The Phoenix Federal Building, as its construction was part of a massive federal program undertaken in an attempt to forestall the Great Depression. The gorgeous Spanish Colonial Revival building, which opened to the public in 1936 and housed the city's main post office for more than 30 years, is the only federal building from the period still standing here. But even if it were surrounded by dozens of others, we'd still love the old P.O. the best. Arizona State University occupies much of the building now. Given ASU's bad track record with historic buildings, we plan to keep a close eye on one of our favorite Phoenix landmarks.

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Ken Lieberman
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