The Barnard Post Office celebrated 135 years in service this month during a reception May 18 at the post office.
According to a press release, the post office was established on May 18, 1882, and was first located in Nimrod. But once officials learned where the railroad would be located the Barnard post office was moved. At the time, a local Native American tribe cautioned railroad officials about locating there because of high water. However, officials wouldn’t listen to the tribe.
The post office’s current location is the fourth building to house the local postal service. The building, which was constructed in 1960, was celebrated with a dedication ceremony attended by then-Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.
The current structure was built by a man named King, who laid the cement block walls and taught others the technique, which he picked up as a Prisoner of War during World War II.
While in Normandy, his military unit attempted to run behind enemy lines, but was captured and held prisoner. During his time in a prison camp, King was forced to learn how to lay cement block – a skill that would prove useful to him after his escape from the camp.
Once he returned to Kansas, King built the current post office.
Since the postal service was established in Barnard, 31 individuals have headed the office. While John J. Biggs served the shortest period – 78 days – back in 1905, Krystal Pickering was the longest-serving postmistress, from October 1993 – July 30, 2012. Pickering’s term spanned 18 years, nine months. Floyd H. Gibbs served the longest as postmaster – 18 years, two months and one day, from Jan. 23, 1935 – March 24, 1953.
Today, Rhonda Rafferty serves as a part-time hub clerk.
As part of the celebration, Rafferty served refreshments to local customers.