Historic Preservation Group Asks Postal Service to Reconsider Palmer Square Sale

The Palmer Square Post Office

The historic preservation review committee for Princeton Borough has asked the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider plans to sell the historic post office building on Palmer Square. The committee has asked instead that the U.S. Postal Service maintain the building as the downtown post office.

In a letter date March 7 that was unanimously approved by the review committee Wednesday night, the group argues that the historic character of the 1930s classic revival building, located within the Princeton Historic District, significantly contributes to the preservation of Palmer Square and the town.

“Princeton is one of the most historic towns in New Jersey and home to Princeton University – one of the finest and most respected universities in the world,” reads the letter. “The Palmer Square Post Office, located across from Princeton University, is unique in many architectural ways but is also the heart of the town, bringing everyone together: students, local residents, businesses, and visitors from all over the world. Maintaining the post office would be beneficial to Princeton and for all of New Jersey because of its highly visible location and its 1930s American architecture and irreplaceable interior details.”

The U.S. Postal Service decided last fall to try to sell the post office property and move to a smaller location downtown where it could rent space. The agency is selling properties across the country as it downsizes in the era of e-mail.

The New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office conducted a review of the Postal Service’s plans to sell the Palmer Square property and determined that the sale would have an adverse effect on the Palmer Square Post Office building.

“We would like to respectfully request that the Princeton Borough Historic Preservation Review Committee be included as a consulting party if the USPS decides to resubmit another review,” reads the letter the review committee sent to the Postal Service. “We would also be available and willing to answer any questions you may have about the building or the history of the town.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said the agency is working with the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office to determine the appropriate mitigation efforts. When the property is formally listed, it will be posted on the U.S. Postal Service’s  real estate website, www.uspspropertiesforsale.com.  Interested parties should visit the website periodically for updates, the spokesman said.