Topaz Post Office up for closure
The tiny Topaz Post Office has been added to a list of 3,655 post offices under review by the U.S. Postal Service to close next year.
Located across the border in California at Highway 395 and Topaz Lane, the post office joins Glenbrook and south Yerington on the list of post offices the service is looking to close.
According to a 2005 story written by Jonni Hill, that appeared in The Record-Courier, the first Topaz Post Office, a few miles from it’s present location, was established in the Topaz Company Store, owned and operated by T.B. Rickey, who also owned most of what is now Antelope Valley. In the early 1920s, Rickey sold the Topaz Company to the Union Land and Cattle Company and the post office was discontinued on Oct. 14, 1922; fortunately, because the store, which had housed the post office, caught fire and burned to the ground.
The post office was re-established on June 5, 1926, at the Pitts Ranch and remained there until the 1930s when the post office moved across the road just north of the original post office site. Vembra Pitts, commissioned as Postmaster in 1928, rented a home from C. B. Rickey which she established for her home and the post office. This lasted until 1955, when it too burned to the ground. The post office was relocated to the Gage residence across the road until alterations could be made to the McKay Ranch to accommodate post office needs.
Pitts retired on Oct. 31, 1958. Alta McKay served as officer-in-charge until Feb. 2, 1960, when she received her commission. Here the post office remained until the night of March 24, 1970, when the McKay residence also burned to the ground.
McKay purchased a small building, roughly 14 by 15 feet in size, from a person in Smith Valley and had it moved to it’s present location, the corner of Highway 395 and Topaz Lane, approximately a mile from it’s first location on the Rickey Ranch.
According to the U.S. Census, 50 people live in Topaz.
Most of the Nevada post offices are in rural areas, like Baker, Gabbs and Manhattan.
None of the offices in the Carson Valley are on the list.
In addition to closing more than a tenth of its offices across the country, the postal service has also asked Congress to allow it to cut back to delivery five-days-a-week and to ease the requirement for an annual $5.5 billion payment to fund future retiree health benefits. Neither has been acted on, which is prompting the current action.
The post office now operates more than 31,000 local offices, branches and stations, down from 38,000 a decade ago.
Of the 1,400 offices announced for review in January, 620 are still in the review process and 300 will move to the new review list.
As an alternative to a post office, the postal service is proposing village post offices operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers. They would offer postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value.”