Goodland post office title

Goodland post office rolls from town to town

The solid Goodland post office moves around

The brick post office at 124 E. 11th St. in Goodland is very solid. It doesn’t look like a place that could play hopscotch. The building has not played hopscotch, but the office has. Before it finally came to rest, the post office lived in three towns, burned, and existed in temporary quarters. After all that adventure, it finally found a permanent home in 1934. The New Deal built Goodland post office a new home. The new building was part of a vast stimulus project during the Great Depression.

Hopscotching between three towns

In the late 1880s, Sherman County was mired in a vicious battle. Several communities were fighting to become the county seat. The towns sought any possible advantage. Having a post office was a mark of federal approval for a town.

Gandy was the first community in Sherman County, but it quickly folded.

Every time one city folded, its citizens moved their buildings into the next likely candidate. Moving the post office was not so simple. When Gandy folded, Sherman Center wrested the post office from the dying community. However, the Post Office Department refused to change the post office’s name. The name stayed as Gandy. The bureaucratic refusal gave rise to oddities such as The Sherman Center News being mailed from the Gandy post office. Except there was no Gandy. As yet, there was no Goodland, either.

The phantom Gandy Post Office

Goodland post office in Gandy
Sherman Center mail was postmarked Gandy Post Office. (

By 1886, the town of Itasca had thrown in with Sherman Center. Its post office joined the “Gandy” office. The ex-Itasca newspaper, The Sherman County Republican, also sent its editions from the Phantom Post Office Known as Gandy.

Sherman Center and the neighboring town of Eustis were mortal enemies. In March 1887, Postal Special Agent Thomas Stivers came to Sherman Center from St. Louis. A Eustis representative named Lewis was with him. Sherman Center suspected foul play. The News editor said the agent had come to close the Gandy post office. Stivers said having The Post Office Named Gandy in Sherman Center caused trouble for the post office.

The obvious solution, naming the post office for Sherman Center, was impossible, the agent said. Since Kansas already had Sherman City and Shermanville, Sherman Center was one too many “Shermans”.

“This has been the pet idea of the Eustis gang,” the editor said.

The Sherman County Dark Horse in Eustis objected. “If Sherman Center continues to have a post office, they may thank the people of Eustis for it,” the Eustis paper said.

Therefore, Gandy was the name that refused to die. It hung around like a phantom, caught between life and death.

Gandy Post Office becomes Goodland Post Office

First Goodland post office
The first Goodland post office moved over from Sherman Center. (

Eustis and The Center were about two miles apart. The final county seat contestant, Goodland, started up between them. By October 1887, Sherman Center had folded. It had gone the same way as Gandy. The parade of buildings headed east to Goodland.

Two months later, the post office building rolled into Goodland. The postmaster had applied for a name change, hoping to leave “Gandy” behind.

The Post Office Department said yes, but wait. The name “Goodland” could not match the post office’s new location until the new year had arrived. Finally, on Jan. 2, 1888, the post office’s name and its location matched.

Finally, after years with a phantom name, the post office known as Gandy became the Goodland post office.

The post office burns

First Goodland post office interior
First Goodland post office interior in 1902. (

However, the move to Goodland did not end the Goodland post office’s hopscotch existence. In January 1903, the Dawson Block section of Goodland burned to the ground. Numerous businesses were displaced, including the post office.

The downtown fire was Goodland’s second fire of the day. Forty minutes before downtown burned, a barn had caught fire. Everyone ran to the first fire. The fire had hardly been extinguished when the second fire erupted. When the alarm bell sounded, people were helping return household goods to the family home next to the burned barn.

Downtown, a flue had started a fire in the business on the south end of the block. A roaring north wind quickly spread the flames. They engulfed the entire block. People frantically rescued what little they could, but their efforts were soon hopeless. The post office suffered $1,000 in losses. The newspaper estimated the block’s total losses at $70,000. In two weeks, Goodland was planning to rebuild.

Post office operations moved to Millisack’s storeroom at 1024 Main. Eventually, the post office opened at 921 Main.

The post office moves for the final time

Goodland post office
The Goodland post office finds permanence after a life of adventure.
USPS cornerstone
Cornerstone on the Goodland post office

By the 1930s, Goodland Post Office was not in good condition. Neither were national postal revenues.

Congress passed emergency appropriation bills for new post offices in three straight years, from 1934 to 1936. The Secretary of the Treasury and the Postmaster General chose which post offices to build. Goodland begged the Post Office Department for a new postal building.

Their approval did not come as fast as the community had hoped. Finally, approval was granted in 1935. As a bonus, the Treasury Department hired Kenneth Miller Adams to paint a mural, “Rural Free Delivery“.

After 50 years of vagabondage, the Goodland Post Office had a permanent home. How relieved it must have been to finally stop moving!

Admire the post office and its mural whenever you wish, since the post office lobby is always open.

More to explore

Sherman Center marker
The Sherman Center marker is attached to the Goodland Water Treatment Plant’s fence.

Find Sherman Center’s marker on the fence at the City of Goodland’s water treatment plant near Fourth and Main. The Eustis marker is at Road 64 and Road 27. Goodland also remembers Eustis with Eustis Ave. on the city’s eastern edge.

Learn more about things to do in Goodland and on Land and Sky Scenic Byway.

Enjoy more of Northwest Kansas. Learn more about destinations in the Midwest, particularly in Kansas.

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