Profile: Old Riverhead Post Office, 1916-1968

old riverhead post office

P.J. Hickey, then mailman on the train, approached Archibald W. Piccott, Minister of Marine and Fisheries and MHA for the Harbour Grace district, and told him of the hardship of the people who had to stand outside a dwelling and receive the mail through an open window. The House of Assembly was not open at the time; so Piccott asked P.J. Hickey if he could guarantee $1,000 for construction, until the legislature reopened. J. Mackey supplied the amount and the Post Office was built. Mike Mackey served as foreman, and lumber came from Gosse’s Mill, Spaniard’s Bay. The Post Office was constructed near the bottom of Station Lane (today, the Hard Path), which the postmaster/postmistress would walk up each day to meet the train, pick up the incoming mail and drop off outgoing mail.

Riverhead

Old Riverhead Post Office (left)

On May 18, 1916, opening day, Mary Coady became Riverhead’s first postmistress. After her death in 1937, Henry Coady was postmaster for eight months. Afterwards, Justin McCarthy worked there from October 1937 to August 14, 1941; Nelly (Barron) Ryan from August 15, 1941, to November 30, 1946; Marie Kelly from December 1, 1946, to 1951; and Margaret Cleary from 1951 until 1968, when the building closed.

James R. Tucker, MHA for Trinity-Conception, officially opened the new Riverhead Post Office on March 29, 1968, at 12:30 p.m. Sister Sylvia recited the Lord’s Prayer and Edward Russell–at 85, the oldest man in the community–posted the first letter. Johnny Shanahan, of Riverhead, and Betty Ann Peddle, of Tilton, cut the ribbon. Mail was delivered from the new location on March 30, 1968, by Margaret Cleary.

The Riverhead Post Office was eventually closed in the 2000s and replaced by outdoor mailboxes.

Do you have any memories or pictures of the old post offices at Riverhead? Contact us!

This post is part of the Harbour Grace Notebook series. Follow the updates on social media with the hashtag #hgnotebook.

— Information sourced from Riverhead Reunion pamphlet (2009)

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