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Illinois Newspapers and Post Offices


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



Additional Resources

PO News Title



Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, newspaper buildings and post offices were prominent in small communities in Illinois and throughout the United States. The years 1900 to 1929, were times of great change in our country, as the ideals of modernity: technology, science and efficiency transformed the landscape. With the repeal of the Tarnsey act in 1913 the already expanding government transformed its building policy into a efficient and standardized machine. The map above shows the quickening rate of post office construction projects between 1900 and 1929. At the same time, the newspaper industry enjoyed growing prosperity and played a role in uniting community members and forming a community identity.

In towns such as Mattoon and Charleston, when a new Post Office was built, the newspaper relocated to a building adjacent to the post office. This project began as an effort to investigate  whether this pattern extended across the Illinois landscape. The results reveal that while post offices and newspaper buildings are near each other, their locations reflect the commercial values of each particular town, rather than an effort to be located near one another. 

Below is the table that our map pulls data from, showing the location of the towns' post offices and newspapers and other relevant information we pooled in our research. 




Annual Report on the State of the Finances, 1912. As cited in Darrell Hevenor Smith, The Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury: Its History, Activities, and Organization. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1923. 30

Architects, American Institute of. Proceedings of the ... Annual Convention of the American Institute of Architects. Committee on Library and Publications, 1895.

"Cyclone Edition." Charleston Daily Courier (Charleston, IL), May 30, 1917. Easter-Schick, Nancy and Bonnie Brooks Clark. 'Round the Square. Charleston: Easter Chick Publishing, 1999.

Illinois Sanborn Insurance Maps:




Mount Carmel



Du Quoin

La Salle 
























National Register of Historic Places, Mattoon Post Office, Mattoon, Illinois. No Number listed.

"New Home for the Daily Courier." Charleston Daily Courier (Charleston, IL), March 26, 1917.

Senate Documents Vol. 22, United States Congressional Serial Set 6537. 63d congress, 1st session, April 7- December 1, 1913 Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913.

Smith, Darrell Hevenor. The Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury; Its History, Activities and Organization. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1923.

Journal Gazette (Mattoon, Illinois) 1912-1917.

The History of Coles County, Illinois ... Map of Coles County; History of Illinois ... History of Northwest ... Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters. Chicago: W. Le Baron, 1879.

Times-Courier (Charleston, Illinois), 1917.


American Public Works Association, Ellis L. Armstrong, Michael C. Robinson, and Suellen M. Hoy, eds. History of Public Works in the United States, 1776-1976. Chicago: The Association, 1976.

Craig, Lois A. The Federal Presence : Architecture, Politics, and Symbols in United States Government Building. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1978.

Conzen, Kathleen. "Pi-ing the Type." in The Identity of the American Midwest, Andrew Cayton and Susan Gray, eds. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2001. 91-110.

Cullinan, Gerald. The United States Postal Service. New York: Praeger, 1973.

General Services Administration. "Explore by Timeline." Multiple pages used. Accessed December 14, 2015. http://www.gsa.gov/.

Farrell, Mike and Mary Cupito. "Role of the Rural Press." In Newspapers: A Complete Guide to the Industry. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2010. 77-92.

Fricker, Jonathan and Donna. "The Beax-Arts Style," The Louisana Division of Historic Preservation, February 2010. Accessed December 10, 2015. 4. http://www.crt.state.la.us/Assets/OCD/hp/nationalregister/historic_contexts/beauxartsREVISED.pdf

Fuller, Wayne Edison. The American Mail: Enlarger of the Common Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.

Historical Preservation Class 2003, "Charleston Courthouse Square Architectural Survey," Localities, https://www.eiu.edu/localite/ctcourtsquare.php

History of Coles County, 1876-1976 : Coles County, Illinois, Charleston and Mattoon Bicentennial Commission, 1976.

History of the U.S. Postal Service, 1775-1981. [Washington, D.C.] : The Service, 1982.

Hoy, Suellen M. Public Works History in the United States : A Guide to the Literature . Nashville, TN : American Association for State and Local History, 1982.

Joeckel, Jeff. "Historical and Architectural Development of Postal Services and Post Office Construction, National Register of Historic Places Bulletin (No 13)," February 6, 2002, http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb13/part2.htm.

John, Richard R. Spreading the News the American Postal System from Franklin to Morse. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1998.

Ladd, Marta Cates and Constance Schneider Kimball. History of Coles County, 1876-1976, Coles County Illinois. Charleston and Mattoon: Bicentennial Commission, 1976.

Lee, Antoinette J. Architects to the Nation: The Rise and Decline of the Supervising Architects Office. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Longstreth, Richard. Buildings of Main Street: A Guide to American Commercial Architecture. The Preservation Press, 1987.

Lyndon, Donlyn. "Public Buildings: Symbols Qualified by Experience," Glazer, Nathan, and Mark Lilla, eds. The Public Face of Architecture: Civic Culture and Public Spaces. New York : Free Press , Collier Macmillan, 1987.

Margolis, Richard J. At the Crossroads : An Inquiry into Rural Post Offices and the Communities They Serve. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Postal Rate Commission: 1980.

Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States Through 250 Years, 1690-1940. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1941.

Redlich, Paul R. The Postal History of Coles County, Illinois : The First Hundred Years, 1830-1930. Des Plaines, IL. (P.O. Box 1513, Des Plaines 60018): Illinois Postal History Society, 1986.

Rifkind, Carole. A Field Guide to American Architecture. New York: New American Library, 1980.

Roth, Leland M. American Architecture : A History. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001.

Shick, Nancy Easter and Bonnie Brooks Clark. 'Round The Square: Life In Downtown Charleston, Illinois, 1830-1998. Charleston, IL: Easter-Chick Pub., 1999.

—'Round the Square : Life in Downtown Charleston, Illinois, 1830-1998. Charleston, IL: Easter-Chick Pub., 1999.

Taylor, William and Thomas Bender. "Culture and Architecture." In Visions of the Modern City. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

Wallace, Aurora. "Architecture of News: Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Buildings in New York." Dissertation, McGill University, 2000.

Wilson, Charles Edward. History of Coles County, Illinois. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co., 1997.

Van Zanten, David. "The Architecture of the Beaux-Arts." JAE 29, no. 2 (1975): 16–17.

 This webpage was created by Chani Jones and Amy Ramsland, Historical Administration Graduate Students, Class of 2015-2016