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Historic Cornville Post Office

Historic Cornville Post Office Comes Home

Serving as the community’s fifth post master, Charles S. Chick built what was credited as “the new, first real post office” for the Cornville community in 1909. He moved the building across the street in 1914; a move that coincided with his marriage to Jessie Mae Cox. This was to be the first of four moves until the building’s relocation in December, 2012.

Gateway To Sedona was contacted by Charles’ granddaughter, Leah Emory, who shared reminiscences of her grandparents and provided the historic photographs and glimpses into Cornville’s postal past, lamenting that the building had been left in obscurity.

Leah initiated a spate of inquiry into the history and location of the post office in Cornville, a historic and somewhat sprawling community located just a few miles south of Sedona along Oak Creek. Leah related that her grandfather, Charles Sidney Chick, operated the Cornville Post Office from 1909 until December, 1931. The operation included a store, gas station, and the post office.

Postmistress Jessie M. Chick In Front Of Cornville Post OfficeHer grandmother, Jessie M. Chick, seen here in front of the store, served as Postmistress from the time of her husband’s death until 1961, carrying on the time-honored family tradition for over fifty years.

The historic section of Cornville is alongside a stretch of road not even a mile long where it’s easy to imagine Mayberry’s Opie strolling easily across the bridge over Oak Creek with a fishing pole flung over his shoulder, whistling a happy tune on a hot summer day. The road’s been widened and paved over the years, a modern bridge crosses the creek, and new facades cover the older buildings now owned by small businesses.

Margaret Allen, another granddaughter of the Chicks, also contacted Gateway To Sedona, offering:

"I am also granddaughter of the Chicks. The Post Office building was moved to a little western town which was built as a tourist attraction on HWY 17 near Camp Verde. I toured the town and especially the building in 1998. Some of the original mail boxes were still in the building along with other items of interest. The little town is now closed but I was by there a few years ago and most of the buildings were still standing. The tourist town was called 'The American Dream.' Someone had drawn a sketch of the post office and I was able to pick up a package of note cards with the picture on the front. Thank you for the article. It is interesting and brings back lots of memories."

Pat Shamrell, the current Postmaster in Cornville, believed that back in 1909 the post office was located at the southeast corner of Cornville and Loy Roads, where Banker Insulation is now located — the location Chick moved the building to in 1914. Fortunately for us, Judy Miller of the Cornville Historical Society, pulled together all the facts (and tore apart the fictions) concerning how the name Cornville came to be, as well as the history of the Cornville post office and post masters.

GTS IMG 6306 HistoricCornviPosted in the Cornville Historical Society E-­MAIL NEWS, History of the Cornville Post Office, Miller notes, “When Charles died in 1931, Jessie became Cornville's sixth Postmaster, and she served until she retired in 1961. Together, the Chicks served the community for over fifty years.”

Cornville residents and members of the Cornville Historical Society celebrate the return of their post office, looking forward to its complete restoration. For more information about the Cornville Post Office and the article, "History of the Cornville Post Office” visit www.cornville-historical-society.org.

Photos by Terree L. Duncan; historic photos courtesy of Leah Emory.

 

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View of the Sedona Scenic Byway and Cathedral Rock in the distance.