Q&A - August 18, 2017

The renovation of the Grand Old Post Office is not a period restoration, and it’s not our goal to return the building back to its original appearance or function, however, when we have opportunity to reuse historically accurate objects within the building, we are doing so. I have previously told you about some of the salvaged items we are reusing, but this week let me tell you about some of the other finds that we are planning to bring back into the building.

Q: What kind of furniture are you planning for the GOPO?

OSUIT will provide the kitchen appliances (refrigerators and stoves) in all the apartment units and supply all the windows with blinds for a unified look on the building. But other than beds and dressers for the bedrooms, the apartments will be unfurnished. This means students will be able to furnish their living rooms any way they wish and decorate their apartments to their own liking.   

The common areas of the building, however, will be fully furnished by the university. All lounges, study areas, and hallways will receive new comfortable furniture (upholstered seating, ottomans, tables and chairs) selected by our interior designer on the project. The common kitchen and laundry room will be fully equipped for their intended purpose. Orange bistro sets will be placed on the outdoor patio by a new raised planter, and the manager’s office will be fully furnished by the university.

But what is even more exciting to me than all the cool modern furniture that has been selected are the vintage accent pieces we have been able to locate. When the Okmulgee Post Office moved out of this building into their current location in 1932, all of the old furniture and equipment was also moved out. Many of the old wooden desks and chairs have been stored in the basement of the current post office for decades and have been offered to OSUIT by the current Okmulgee postmaster to the extent possible under federal guidelines. Some of the old surplus furniture will find its way back into the building where it was originally used. Alongside the new modern furnishing, these vintage accent pieces will provide a nostalgic reminder of the building’s past.

But perhaps the greatest find was a supply of original brass-front, wall-mounted mailboxes from the old post office that were also stored in the basement of the current post office. Federal law does not permit the postmaster to sell or donate old mailboxes, but nothing stops her from continuing to use them. So, she has offered a supply to be installed in the GOPO to serve as working mailboxes for residents of the building. The Okmulgee Post Office will maintain them in their inventory and will deliver to them daily. Few things could be more satisfying than seeing vintage and original mailboxes being pressed back into service in the old post office building.

We are still actively looking for old photos or wall hangings to use in the building. If you can direct me toward something suitable, or if you have additional questions, please write me at osuit-president@okstate.edu