Jan. 8, 2021
Well, we made it into the first week of the new year with thoughts for a less traumatic 12 months ahead of us, months that will be defined by “v” words like “vaccine,” “volunteers” and “vacations” (maybe!). But before we move on, we must mention one historic event leading up to the December holiday crush: the unimaginable likelihood that the South Salem post office would run out of stamps. But, alas, it’s true. And can be attested to by chilly patrons waiting in line outside the post office who were greeted by a clerk calling out to them, that he had no Christmas or holiday stamps, no flag stamps — no stamps, period. What a catastrophe. For 10 days in mid-December, there were no stamps at all due to a snafu in ordering. Finally, stamps arrived and the stress level abated just a bit. We salute our South Salem postal clerks who weathered the storm with smiles.
The Lewisboro Garden Club is embarking on a program to promote tree planting come spring. To get folks in the mood for this project, the LGC will offer bits of information about trees. Here’s a start: Trees collect carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The common horse chestnut (Aesculus) and most species of oak are good carbon absorbers. A typical hardwood tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of CO₂ per year.
Talk of the Town welcomes Jane Rothschild, the new Lewisboro Library teen librarian who started her job this week. We will miss Dolores Antonetz who retired at the end of December. Dolores and her teen groups often helped me with historic productions and ghost walks. I will especially miss Dolores’ adventuresome spirit. Jane brings experience working in many areas of the Westchester Library System and we hope she enjoys her new home at the library.
Lewisboro Parks and Rec is offering a Snow Angels program to help relieve the stress that comes from the winter storms that hinder the activities of our older residents. The Snow Angels will go to a neighbor’s house after a storm to make their home more accessible. The call is out for volunteer “angels” as well as for residents over 60 who would like “angelic” assistance with driveway snow removal or sidewalk and mailbox clearing. If you fit into either group, please contact Pam Veith, the town’s senior coordinator at 232-6162 or email@example.com.
Also, the Lewisboro Senior Adults Meetings via Zoom began this week. Seniors can call in or log in to these virtual gatherings via a computer, tablet or cellphone. For more information, contact Ms. Veith.
Lewisboro History. What’s a town without a post office? Even today, the post office is the one place townsfolk like to gather. The first postmaster was probably Gould Hawley. The South Salem postal district was established between April 1 and June 30, 1813. Gould Hawley was shopkeeper, postmaster and occasional tooth-puller as well. The most prominent postmaster in the annals of the South Salem Post office was Cyrus Lawrence. His general store was located in the building that now houses the Textile Conservation Workshop. He was appointed about 1861 and served until his death in 1897. For a couple of years, Mr. E.Q. Lyon served as postmaster, but his tenure didn’t last long. He lived about a mile east of the village, at the eastern end of Spring Street, and insisted that the mail be delivered to his home, which was mighty inconvenient for the residents from the north end of town. By the beginning decades of the 20th century, South Salem’s post office had moved “uptown” to the grocery store run by Eddie Allair. The former store/post office is now a private home on Main Street north of the present post office. That location served the postal needs of the town until the late 1950s. In 1942. Josephine Reilly became postmistress, succeeding her husband, John. The Reillys lived across the street from the store. Josephine Reilly kept watch over the mail for 15 years. Stories are told about Mrs. Reilly making sure that all Christmas packages were out of her post office before she closed on Christmas Eve. Berta Fellows of Truesdale Lake was sworn in as the next postmistress in February 1957 and she was the first to preside over the new post office that we all use today.
About 1958 the town petitioned for its own rural route delivery. The town was growing and people were beginning to live farther away from the center of the village. The petition was granted, and, in November 1958, South Salem Rural Route One became a reality. Until that time, if you did not collect your mail at the post office, it was delivered out of Ridgefield on one of three routes. In 1960, builder George Huffmire bought an acre of property from the town for $1,000 by to be used for the proposed post office. He then sold part of the land to the South Salem Library for their new home. Work on the new post office began in August 1960; the building opened for business on Dec. 1. The post office was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1960.
Once permission was granted for the new rural delivery route, the race was on for the position of carrier. There were two candidates for the job: Nick Mariani of South Salem, and Eno V. Anderson of Ridgefield. Mr. Mariani was a Republican; Mr. Anderson was a Democrat. Mr. Mariani was a postal clerk at the Grand Central Station post office, Mr. Anderson worked in Ridgefield. Mr. Anderson didn’t have a chance, and Nick Mariani became the first rural route carrier in town. He began his 30-mile daily drive on Nov. 1, 1958. He had 246 boxes on that route. By the time he retired in June, 1982, there were four rural routes in South Salem and almost 1,600 boxes.