The Glen Ellen Post Office: Stamps and soul
For many, our little post office on Arnold Drive is the soul of the town. Here, as with the Village Market, you natter with friends and chin-wag about controversial development plans. Everybody holds the door open for the next person. All are courteous mask-wearers. The sometimes-weary counter persons are unfailingly mannerly as they tape up my inadequately-wrapped parcel or add a quarter to your short change.
The first Glen Ellen post office was on the Justi Ranch on Dunbar Road where the Wells Fargo Stage stopped, and Charles Justi was its postmaster, according to Bob Glotzbach in “Childhood Memories of Glen Ellen.“ That stage stop with the white barn with wooden mail sorting boxes stood there until, alas, the 2017 fires. Since Justi’s time, the post office has been housed in several locations, including the Chauvet Building, a hotel, and a tiny corner of the Poppe Store.
In November 2019, Don Mitchell took over the Glen Ellen Post Office as Postmaster. Before him there was Dot Henderson who went off to Italy, and Shanda Duro, Erica, Sandy and kind Kip Fogarty who recently died while walking his dog and feeding a stray cat. Since Don has been at the helm, the lobby interior has been painted, the mail is delivered on time, parcels are accurately dispensed. Don is a Santa Rosa boy, though he served in the Forestville office and the Ross office for years. He lives currently in Santa Rosa, and loves this tiny rural post office where you know everyone.
When asked if there have been policy changes associated with the new U.S. Postmaster General, Don explains that nothing has changed in our little post office. Mail is still being delivered on time when it reaches us, and customers can expect stability.
The post office is open weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Big and bearded behind the counter is a true Sonoma County man named Terrence Briggs. Terrence has been in the P.O. for many years, at this branch for about 18 months. A Navy brat growing up, he now lives full time in Sebastopol where he went to high school. His commute to Glen Ellen is 30 minutes and through delightful terrain, so he has no complaints. He has found that the COVID pandemic has increased the number of parcels being routed through the P.O., and on a random Monday, he dispatched 900 parcels to eager consumers awaiting their Amazon parcel or mail-order goodies.
There are other merry counter-folks who were too shy to interview, but their helpful responses are always valued. And remember Melody who brightened everybody’s day before moving back to Texas and family?
A black flag flies below Old Glory on the flag pole outside our P.O. At first glance it looks like a pirate flag, but Don has the answer. It is an official POW/MIA flag honoring those military who are “missing in action.” Previous to the Trump administration, this flag was required to be flown once a month with the American flag. But after 2016 a law was passed requiring that the MIA flag be raised over all American Post Offices when the Stars and Stripes are aloft.
Gratitude to our modest little post office, for continuously being there, solid, reliable and treasured.