Inside the Steinauer Heritage House

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Hello all, Benny here.

I enjoyed the Steinauer Heritage House article this past Tuesday and I wanted to share with you a few of the photographs I received from the inside. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

 

Benny


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Family History

Joann Lutcavich and Erma Gyhra cutting the ribbon for the dedication of the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

Joann Lutcavich and Erma Gyhra cutting the ribbon for the dedication of the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

The small town of Steinauer, NE, is home to 75 close-knit community members who value the rich heritage of their historic territory. Named after three brothers from Switzerland who founded the town in 1856, the population has dwindled some since its peak of 248 residents in 1910, but the legacy of the Steinauer family remains as strong as ever.

Last month, the Steinauer family converged on their namesake town from as far away as Peru for a family reunion. One of the main events held during the gathering was the re-dedication of the former Post Office into a community museum called the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

“We had nearly 150 people join us for the dedication,” said Event Organizer Terry Wagner-Lomax. “It was the kick-off for the family reunion.”

The conversion of the Post Office into a museum was a community-involved effort, with many members contributing special items to the cause. The gathering at the re-dedication ceremony brought back fond memories of it’s past.

“As a child, one of the placed we always used to stop in was the Post Office,” said Terry. “The Postmaster would always have a treat for us and it was a lot of fun.”

The 792 square-foot building, built in 1874, served as the Post Office for nearly 120 years. In honor of its service to the town, two Steinauer brothers purchased the property and renovated the building. It’s transition into a community museum involved careful planning and the support of the local community.

“The project itself started a year and a half ago,” said Terry. “When people found out about the project, they started bringing things to the Post Office such as the original mail sorting desk and employee desk. When we looked inside the drawers, we found original route maps. It’s been fun for the community to see these things go back to where they belong.”

Terry’s great, great grandfather, Joseph Steinauer, was one of the original founders of the town. He also became the first Postmaster in 1874.

“Joseph originally ran the Post Office out of his home,” said Terry. “He eventually built a building and moved the Post Office there. He never received a salary as a Postmaster, but he did make a little from selling stamps, though it was never more than $20 a year.”

In addition to serving as a Post Office, the building simultaneously served as the town’s first bank and printing press. Eventually, the bank moved to a separate building and the press ceased operation, leaving the Post Office as the sole business occupant for more than a century.

The Steinauer Community Heritage House is home to postal memorabilia, a memorial to the community’s veterans, and a variety of photographs, documents and other items that chronicle the rich history of the town and the Post Office. The unique collection of items housed inside the fully restored building will provide the opportunity for members of the community to relive and rediscover the heritage of the town for many generations to come.

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An image of the Steinauer Post Office many decades ago.

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The Steinauer Post Office as it appears today.

Hudson River School

Hudson River School

In the mid-19th century, a new school of art introduced a unique way of portraying landscape paintings of picturesque settings.

The Hudson River School of painters flourished from the mid-1830s to the mid-1870s and gave America its first major school of art. Paintings included in this stamp set include Distant View of Niagara Falls (1830) by Thomas Cole, from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago; Summer Afternoon (1865) by Asher B. Durand, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Sunset (1856) by Frederic Edwin Church, from the collection of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute; and Grand Canyon (1912) by Thomas Moran, from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The Hudson River School stamp set is now available as First-Class Mail Forever postage by going to USPS.com or by clicking here.

Postal Service Employees Share their Experiences

Photo by Dave Reynolds

We often share the stories of our working lives with friends and family to let them know what we do when they’re not around. Some of those stories are quite unique and offer a fascinating perspective into a life that others will likely never experience. To celebrate and share the many facets of working life at the Postal Service, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum has recently launched a new website dedicated to the men and women of the 237-year-old American icon.

Within this new site, called People and the Post, visitors will have the opportunity to read stories about life as a postal employee aboard the USS Nimitz, on a railway mail car, and handling military mail in the Philippines. There are a variety of other stories to enjoy as well, and many have a video interview accompanying the story. The site also invites current and former postal employees to share their stories and experiences about their time with the Postal Service.

The People and the Post website offers a unique opportunity to have the working lives of postal employees immortalized within the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

What interesting stories would you like to share with future generations?

Pieces of Retirement

One of the great adventures in life is seen as the transition to retirement. This is usually considered by most to be the best time to enjoy many of the things we’ve been putting off throughout our working years. The opportunities to go on long vacations, to see the different wonders of the U.S. and the world, to volunteer with charitable organizations and enjoy new hobbies sound like terrific ways to spend a retirement. Why wait until retirement to enjoy them?

There are many reasons we may put off such great adventures. The lack of money, time, and the inability to get away from particular obligations can be some of the reasons why we stick to our daily routines. We keep these dreams in our back pockets, hoping that someday, when we’re retired we’ll be able to enjoy everything we’re putting off. The only catch to that is the uncertainty that comes with the future.

We never quite know what to expect from the future. Will we be healthy enough to enjoy these adventures? Will we have additional responsibilities in retirement that will continue to keep us from pursuing our dreams? Will we really have the money we think we will in retirement? The reasons we have now for putting off our desires today may continue to consume our time and resources in the future.

There are things we can do now to enjoy small pieces of retirement without breaking the bank. These can include taking small weekend trips to parks, zoos, museums, air shows, and festivals. We can take an online course in an interesting subject at a local community college to learn about something new and exciting. We can volunteer our time in small increments to worthwhile organizations that we’ve longed to support. We can take up painting, drawing, writing, gardening, and other hobbies that can be enjoyed whenever we want in whatever increments of time we choose.

It’s easy to say we’re going to do something in the distant future, and then never get around to actually doing it. The real trick is to enjoy pieces of retirement now before time is no longer on our side.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to enjoy a family vacation as inexpensively as possible?

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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