LeRoy Historical Society

Page 5 (continued frompage 3) (continued on page 6) was allocated for the LeRoy Post Office but a month later it was noted that even though the money had been allo- cated, the work would not begin. Eight months later, in November, the Gazette noted that the Public Building Program initiated by President Hoover would further the project along. But a month later hopes were dashed again when LeRoy was not included on the list of post offices to be built in New York. Ernest Woodward was determined to get a new post office. In April the LeRoy Post Office was on the Presidential List and by August the federal government was accepting proposals. In September the Fourth Assistant Postmaster Gen- eral, John Philip, visited LeRoy to view the property donated by Woodward. In November, Julian Morton of Washing- ton, inspector of Federal Buildings and H.E. Niccoloy acting inspector for New York State, met with Mr. Woodward. After a ground inspection, they took a plane from the D.W Airport to view the site from above. Although the prop- erty did not have the frontage that was usually required, both men stated that the site prepossessed so many other advantages that they would officially accept the offer made by Woodward. However, in December, Woodward was asked to acquire additional land to the east from the Niagara Hudson Company. The Treasury Department refused to accept the deed because of the liability of potential flood dam- age. Woodward was undaunted and traveled many times to Washington. Eventually the problem was solved when Woodward purchased a surety bond absolving the Niagara Hudson Company from any damage by flood water. It was not until April of 1932 that a dispatch fromWashington stated that James Arnold of Rochester had been selected as the architect at the sugges- tion of Woodward. Preliminary plans were submitted in June but Woodward insisted the building be constructed of stone, not the customary brick. A month later, a petition was signed by Village officials, Congressman Saunders and Postmaster Houston and submit- ted to the Treasury Office for consid- eration. Not only did they want stone, they wanted“native“ stone. In February 1933, the plans were approved and it was time to advertise for bids but not before Woodward had to sink more money into preparing the site as re- quired by the government. Then on May 10 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the abandonment of the Post Office project. It was decided that the Reforestation Project was more impor- tant. Hopes were revived a month later when discussion about the cost esti- mates began. Of the original $100,000 appropriated, $10,000 was needed for the furniture and equipment and a very large portion of the money was necessary for the retaining wall along the creek. Unfortunately, only $21,000 was left for the building itself and the architect estimated that the project would require $65,000. For two years, Washington haggled over the appro- priations for the new Post Office. In the meantime, new plans were being drawn up by staff members in the of- fice of the Supervising Architect in the Treasury Department. The plans were said to be “almost an exact replica of the famous Radcliffe Memorial Library in Oxford England. The retaining wall project began in June 1935, but the Vil- lage declined theWPA proposal stating that the Village had already placed fill in the site and that the government should assume the entire cost. Work was finally started on the retaining wall but there were problems with the building. Although everyone wanted native stone, there were no longer any stone cutters in the area who could do the work. So it was decided to acquire Indiana limestone that was very similar to the local Onondaga limestone. The contractor, William Watson of Kenmore, who had submitted the low bid for the building went bankrupt on March of 1936. Work began again in April with Werner Spitz from Rochester. The cor- nerstone was laid August 19, 1936 with out any ceremonies. Over and over, the dedication was postponed. Final- ly, a dedication was set for March 31, 1937 but no sooner than the date had been set when plans for remodeling the building were announced. Ernest Woodward didn’t like the short squatty look of the building. He wanted to raise the roof line an While discussion con- tinued about changing the roof line, the building was occupied on June 19, 1937. Once again bids for the roof proj- ect were recalled and frantic phone calls and letters were exchanged with Washington. Eventually work was be- gun on the roof and clock tower. The electric clock was placed into position on January 10, 1938. The grounds were graded, seeded, trees were planted and an ornamental fence installed along the retaining wall - - again at the ex- pense of Ernest Woodard. It was said that Ernest Woodard put more money into the post office than the federal government. The building was finally dedicated on August 20, 1938. It took over 11 years to complete the project, but finally LeRoy had a suitable post office - - a tribute to the tenacity of Ernest Woodward. Completed post office in 1937 before construction of new roof and clock tower.