Kaweah Post Office

In 2010 the historic Kaweah Post Office celebrated its 100th birthday, and commemorated 120 years of mail service to the community of Kaweah, California, a neighbor of Three Rivers.  

The charming, picturesque post office building was constructed by local ranchers and residents in 1910 to give a permanent home to the mail service established in 1890 for the Kaweah Colony (See Jay O'Connells's book  Co-operative Dreams, A History of the Kaweah Colony).  A lively, eccentric group of about 500 labor activists and nonconformists mostly from San Francisco, but attracting members from as far away as England, the Kaweah Colony was established in 1886 as a Utopian, socialist experiment in which participants would enjoy benefits based on the labor they contributed. They established a newspaper, a minimum wage and a system of currency based on time credits. Their economy was centered on harvesting sequoia trees, so they constructed, by hand, a tortuous road up the canyon to access the trees. They settled in tents eight miles up the North Fork of the Kaweah River and operated until 1892, when inner conflicts and the U.S. government's seizure of land to create what is now Sequoia National Park brought about their demise as a colony.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 36.4704416 Longitude: -118.9196205 Elevation: 966 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Kathleen McCleary

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About this Establishment

The building, which measures only 12 by 15 feet in size, was constructed of local cedar and redwood by volunteer postal patrons in 1910, each contributing $2.50 toward materials.  It has remained in almost continuous operation for 100 years, subject to the vagaries of the U.S. Postal Service.  It currently serves 47 box holders with daily mail delivery, "manned" by a volunteer, since the U.S.P.S. rescinded its contract as a full-service post office in May, 2010.

North Fork Road, where the post office is located, was the only entrance into Sequoia National Park until the General's Highway was built in 1926. Until that time, the post office functioned as something of an early "mini mart," selling honey, tires, gasoline, snacks and water to tourists braving the road to the park in their Model T's.

Today, in addition to providing daily mail box delivery, the Kaweah Post Office serves as a meeting place for neighbors who often walk there from home, and a subject for photographers, film-makers and artists of many genre ( see Nadi Spencer and Jana Botkin).  It is a picturesque survivor in a time when budget cuts are closing down hundreds of small post offices around the United States. (Article in New York Times Sunday Edition, 6 Feb. 2011), where a sense of community and history is alive and well.

We have some wonderful memorabilia from our Centennial Celebration for sale: T-shirts, posters, cachet envelopes, Zazzle stamps.

How to find us:  Go east from Visalia on Hwy. 198, into Three Rivers.  Turn left onto NorthFork Drive (there's a Post Office sign) and continue 3 1/4 miles.  The post office is on the left, pretty small, so look sharp or you'll miss us!  You will be glad you stopped.

Time Period Represented

1890 - 2011

Hours Open

Usually 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Daily

Visitor Fees

None. It's open for visiting any day of the week and weekends, 24 hours a day.

Seasons Open

All four

Pet Friendly Notes

There's a charming little park area adjacent to the Post Office which is very dog friendly.

Comments

This is a treasure. It is one of my most popular subjects for drawing and painting. Feels good just to stand on the porch. And, stepping into the lobby feels like being in a living history museum!

Jana Botkin, 2/19/2011

As a volunteer at this endearing little Post Office, I love working there and can’t think of anywhere I'd rather be.

Carol Jones, 3/2/2011

Wow !!! I had been there once to purchase stamps and post some postcards to my pen pals around the world !!! Y M Kakar, Pakistan.

Y M Kakar., 3/13/2011

I have cherished this area for more than 40 years with many happy memories. To me the Kaweah Post Office embodies the spirit of the early settlers and those living today!

L. Childers, 4/29/2011

This delightful structure has been in service to its community for over 100 years. We always bring visitors to see it, and it is always one of their favorite stops. After marveling at the interior, everyone has to have their picture taken on the porch. Hats off to Kathleen and the many supporters who are keeping this historic treasure of Tulare County upright and operating and open to the public. It's living history, community character, and a wonderful tourist destination all in one.

Laurie Schwaller, 8/30/2011

Meet Kathleen McCleary, owner and steward of the Kaweah Post Office, and hear her stories about caring for this tiny historic treasure through its Centennial year and beyond: article and video at www.tularecountytreasures.org! Click on the Treasure Tales tab, then scroll down to find Kaweah Post Office. If you're coming to or through Three Rivers, be sure to make the very short detour to this delightful and thought-provoking landmark.

Laurie Schwaller, 1/18/2015

My grandfather Walter Hengst owned a cabin in Kaweah as a kid growing up we walked to the post office every time we would visit him. I have many memories of grandpa Hengst and the walks to the little post office.

Pamela (Hengst)Middleton, 3/14/2015

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