Dixon
Post Office
Lee County IL

Dixon, like many communities, has only one federal building and that is the post office. The history of Dixon's mail service dates back to the early foundings of Ogee's Ferry but the federal building only dates back to 1911. Up until that time the office had been pushed around from one rented building to another depending upon whims of landlords, postmasters and other circumstances.

According to Lee County history there was a postoffice established here under the name of Ogee's Ferry on May 25, 1829. It was located in the one room log cabin Ogee who was the half-breed Indian ferryman for the Rock River at this point. John M. Gay was appointed as the first postmaster.

On Sept. 29, 1830 Father John Dixon received his commission as postmaster. It was during that same year that Dixon purchased the ferry and cabin from Ogee so the postoffice remained in the same place. The name was changed to Dixon's Ferry and it is under this name that the first mention to the postoffice is made in the Washington records. That shows that on Nov. 23, 1833 an official postoffice was established here.

Smith Galbraith followed Father Dixon on Oct. 17, 1837 and then James P. Dixon, grandfather of Judge George Dixon was next from May 18, 1841 to Aug. 29, 1843. On that date the name was changed to Dixon and James McKenney became postmaster. He was succeeded by Abram Brown from Feb. 14, 1845 until Apr. 1, 1846. Brown had previously served at Grand Detour and afterwards served at Franklin Grove.

David H. Birdsall then served until Sept. 19, 1849; Anderson T. Murphy until Dec. 1, 1852; Joseph H. Cleaver until his death in 1854 when he was succeeded by Eli Baker until April 1861. For the next 22 years until his death in 1883, James Camp was postmaster and after his death his widow held the office until April 5, 1887. James B. Charters then served until Dec. 23, 1891.

Benjamin F. Shaw held the office from then until Jan. 23, 1896 and again from Jan. 29, 1900 until his death in 1909. Michael Maloney was postmaster during the interim. William L. Frye served until October 1, 1914 and William F. Hogan until Oct. 1, 1923. John E. Moye took the office then and held it until Geo. J. Fruin the present postmaster was appointed on Feb. 23, 1936. Mr. Fruin thus became the 20th postmaster to receive that commission in Dixon.

It was in 1888 that business passed the $10,000 mark at the postoffice and it was in 1890 that city delivery was established. In 1899 rural delivery was started. At the time of the Opera House fire in 1903 the postoffice was in that building and it was this fire that finally spurred already interested citizens to seriously ask the Washington department for a building to be used exclusively as a postoffic. At first they talked of a $45,000 structure but Frank O. Lowden who was a member of congress at that time pushed through a bill for $75,000 which he felt would be more adequate for the needs of Dixon.

Bids for the new building were slightly lower than had been anticipated and so there was some extra money available which was used for extra fire-proofing precautions. Another thing which was not originally planned was the retaining wall. As the building progressed and those who were interested began to think about landscaping they realized that only a retaining wall could make the lawn into something beautiful so that was added.

The latest in ventilating, heating and other conveniences were installed in the new building. Walls were of Perry granite Bedford limestone and the inside was finished as much as possible in dead white to give the best lighting effects. Both gas and electric lights were installed. Finally on March 11, 1911 the dedication ceremonies took place and from then on the mail has been handled in the present federal building.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph 18 December 1944 - Mary's Listenin' Post

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