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Please Mr. Postman

For those of us living in rural areas, the U.S. Postal Service has been a tie to the outside world.  In Eagle County, those ties were first supported by stage coach and rider deliveries, later railroad deliveries, and more recently by truck. Whatever the means employed, small rural post offices kept miners, ranchers and families in touch with relatives and business partners.  Not a small feat.  It continues today. Enter the  “21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012,” announced in 2011.    In an effort to offset operational losses of the last few years, the Postal Service considered closing many small, rural post offices.  For Eagle County, that meant Red Cliff, Bond and Burns were on the possible closure list.

Diana Cisneros, Postmaster, Red Cliff, July 2011


For the last year, public forums have been held, input sought and everyone affected by possible closings really came forth with very strong opinions. Diana Cisneros, Postmaster at Red Cliff, responded to shifting the 150 Red Cliff box customers to Minturn:  “I think they’ll see we’re needed here.  That nine miles might as well be 60 miles in the winter.” [Vail Daily, July 28, 2011 p.A3] Bud Gates, former Eagle County Commissioner said: “We drive six miles to get our mail [in Burns] right now.  We make a lot of sacrifices to live out here. I don’t think we need to make any more.” [Vail Daily, April 26, 2012 p.A3] The Post Office as a community center and gathering place continues to serve outlying communities.  Jackie Schlegel, part-time postal worker from Wolcott to Yampa: “You’ can’t just replace the postmaster in these places. You can’t replace the local knowledge they have.” [Vail Daily, May 14, 2012 p.A3] Looking at rural Eagle County post offices:

Burns Post Office


The post office in Burns was established on May 14, 1895.  The current building opened October 7, 1896. *

McCoy Post Office


McCoy Post Office opened on May 23, 1891.*  It served parts of Routt County that were geographically closer to McCoy than Yampa.

Bond Post Office


The Bond Post Office opened December 4, 1935, following the opening of the Dotsero Cutoff in 1934.  Bond continues to be a railroad town.*

Railroad ties at Bond


Red Cliff has a great Post Office history.  The Red Cliff Post Office was established on Feb. 4, 1880, when Eagle County was still a part of Summit County.  It remained until Feb. 7, 1895 when it became Redcliff (one word),   and remained such until April 1, 1979, when the name was changed back to Red Cliff.*

The two story building at left is the former U.S. Post Office on Water St. in Red Cliff. The trailer was also used as the Post office for a while. The new Post Office was opened in 1990.


Whatever cuts are coming will be finalized after Labor Day 2012.  Given all the public involvement and opinion, the Postal Service is considering cutting back service hours and changing fulltime personnel for part-time.   This might look like the following: Red Cliff               8 hrs. now           4 hrs. after Labor Day Burns                    4 hrs. now           2 hrs. after Labor Day Bond                     6 hrs. now           2 hrs. after Labor Day McCoy                  8 hrs. now           4 hrs. after Labor Day Wolcott                8 hrs. now           4 hrs. after Labor Day [not on the original closure list] * Bauer, William H. Colorado Post Offices, 1859-1989.1990.  


Great write up Jaci, Wow, what a memory you have and talk about sticking with something until you get an answer. Ref: Red Cliff one or two words, now we know the rest of the story! Many Thanks for all that you do.

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