Brown County Historical Society Museum
Monday - Friday 10:00am-4:00pm Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm
Youth and Students are Free
Research Library Hours
Monday - Friday 10:00am-4:00pm
Closed 12:00-1:00 for lunch
1st Floor Exhibit - Century Farms
2nd Floor Exhibit - Wanda Gag Exhibit
3rd Floor Exhibit - U.S.-Dakota War
2 North Broadway Street, New Ulm, MN 56073
2010 Copyright Brown County Historical Society Museum,
For more information feel free to Contact Us
History of the Post Office 1910-2010
at Center Street and Broadway was purchased November 27, 1906, by the U.S.
Government from Dr. L.A. Fristche for $4,700. The original government
appropriation for building and site was $30,000, to which another appropriation
of $20,000 was added. The contractors, Steward & Hager of Janesville, Wisconsin,
commenced work on March 15, 1909 and completed the building in 1910. The doors
to the new post office were opened on May 23, 1910. According to H.C. Scofield,
federal supervisor, the New Ulm Post Office ranked second in the U.S. in size,
construction, beauty, and exclusiveness of style.
The building has two fronts, a 72-foot front on Center Street and a 52-foot front on Broadway. All woodwork is of natural quarter-sawed oak treated with acid fumes and shellac, and rubbed to a dull finish. No varnish was used.
The Renaissance design, a neo-classic architectural style, was popular in Germany and the Low Countries. This style is evident in the very steep roof and stepped (step-like) design of the five gables. Renaissance Baroque is seen in the scroll work and decorated details. The exterior of the structure has alternating courses of variegated deep red rough brick and gray-white terra cotta stone (a manufactured concrete stone). This combination of material and the dramatic style is what gives the building its unique appearance.
The first postmaster to serve in the new post office was S.D. Peterson, Assistant Postmaster, John Weddendorf; clerks, M. Prom, Fred Oswald, Ed Alwin, Joseph Kral, and Oscar Baltrusch.
Working conditions for postal employees in 1910 was long and difficult. Postal clerks worked six days a week, at least 13 hours a day. Many times it was longer by two hours or more when the train was late. There was no over-time paid. They worked every-other Sunday and every holiday. They were paid fifty dollars a month.
Many times the post office ran out of coal to heat the post office because the government requisitions took so long to go through, that the old supply of coal ran out before they new supply came in. So the postal clerks would be sent out to scour the alleys of the city to find wooden packing boxes for fuel to warm the post office.
The post office served the needs of our city for 66 years and closed in 1976.
Beginning in December 1980 and ending in February 1985, Brown County and the City of New Ulm spent over $1 million in grants, donations and MHS preservation funds to support adaptive reuse of this post office building. Work was done by a number of contractors, our local company Heymann Construction was the lead on this project. The building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1972. The Museum building and Annex are owned by Brown County and leased to the Brown County Historical Society. Thank you people of Brown County and Happy 100th Birthday!