Maple Mount Post Office
Golden Anniversary Speech Given by Sister Walter Louise Lush
November 21, 1984
Our community has celebrated many golden anniversaries, but this makes history as being the first time to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of a post office, that of our own Maple Mount, and the Silver Anniversary of a post master, our own Sister Rose Emma Monaghan. Data and personal remarks indicate that the Ursulines missed many opportunities of applying for a post office from 1874, at their arrival, until 1886. During this time our nearest post office was at West Louisville, with no delivery.
In 1886, a post office was opened at Perryville, the big name given to a little town of several houses on the Beech Grove Road. The new name, St. Alphonsus, was submitted to the Post Office Department. Their reply, “The name is too long and too difficult to spell,” and asked for a shorter, more ordinary name. The name Saint Joseph was then submitted and accepted. The new post office at “Joe Town” as it was later called, was in the residence of Mrs. Emma Pike. Emma was appointed postmaster and retained this position until her death in 1904. Mr. Joe Ballard succeeded her as official postmaster. In 1906 St. Joseph became a Star Route Center. Before the beginning of our post office, the sisters and students’ mail was brought up to the Mount from “Joe Town” and distributed.
Through encouragement and suggestions of various friends, particularly Mrs. Grace Maas, postmaster at Waitman and Skillman, stacks of communication between the community and Congressman Glover Cary regarding recommendations to the Post Master General, James A. Farley, a post office was established on the campus of Mount Saint Joseph on November 21, 1934 and received the official name “Maple Mount.” The name was decided upon as commemorating the work of Rev. Paul Joseph Volk, founder of the Academy who, in 1875, had been instrumental in planning the beautiful Maple Grove which we now enjoy.
The first post office was located on the first floor of the original Academy building, our present switchboard and information Center [in 1984], where the mail previously had been brought up from “Joe Town” and handled for so many years. In 1940, the post office was moved to the first floor of the old infirmary building. In 1962, with the erection of the present Bloemer Building, a new modern post office was contained and equipped for rent by the government.
The first postmaster to take the oath of office was Sister Basil Pike. The oath was administered to her and to Sister Jerome Cooper, as first clerk, but Sister Martina Clement, Notary Public, on November 21, 1934. For those of us who remember Sister Basil, one description fits her quite well. Quote, “Sister Basil knew her onions. She was unassuming and a wonderful person; plain as an old shoe, but smart as a whip. To look at her you would think she was out of the picture, but she wasn’t.” Under her efficient hand, the post office quickly advanced from a 4th to a 3rd class rating. On March 10, 1941, a post office inspector gave a rating of 98.2% for general appearance and operation. The inspector stated, “This is one of the best regulated, nicest looking and cleanest post office I have ever seen.” You postmasters present do not need to take offense. We do not have to contend with tobacco spitters sitting around in our post office.
Our own Mr. Joe Muth took the oath of office as a mail carrier on December 21, 1934. It seems that Mr. Joe, as a mail carrier, got a certain percentage of cancellations. It was stated that at one time when he received a check from Washington for $76.36, his eyes looked like moons. There was one rumor stated, there have been many complaints about Mr. Joe speeding, that he drove the old grey horse too fast. After the first oath of office on November 21, 1934, the community began congregational singing of the Magnificat in thanksgiving for the post office.
As stated earlier, Sister Jerome Cooper was the first official post office clerk. Postal clerks who have served over the years are Sisters Rudolph Castile, Willetta Buckler, Hilary O’Brien, Dolores Gatton, Rose Emma Monaghan, Genevieve Pike, Mary Celeste McCue, Charles Borromeo Calhoun, Teresita Thompson, Eileen Marie Reuth, Joetta Mattingly, Mary Wilfrid Hayden, Consolata Stalling, Angelita Sedillo, Joseph Therese Thompson and Francis Joseph Porter, our present clerk. Others receiving honorable mention for mail service given to sisters and students are Sisters Mercedes Wathen, Edmund Coomes, Ann Francis Johnson, Amadeus Pike, Joseph Ursula Barker and Bertha Marie Nalley. Postal clerks advancing to postmaster are Sister Mary Celeste McCue, who was appointed to this office in May 1949 after the death of Sister Basil.
Due to the illness of Sister Mary Celeste, Sister Rose Emma became postmaster pro tem and was later officially named postmaster. She can proudly boast that her certification bears the signature of President John F. Kennedy. At the postmasters’ meeting this past year, Sister Rose Emma received recognition and a pin for her 25 years of service as a postmaster. We say congratulations and hats off to you today.
Over the years, we and Sister Rose Emma have seen much progress in our postal service. The hard work and capable hands of Sister and her assistants have kept up the good ratings and compliments of the past. Recently, Montana Peters, a postal inspector, gave our rating a clear slate with high compliments. “Wonderful office, totally immaculate, stock in perfect order.” Throughout the years Revenue Units have increased considerably.
We compliment and thank Sister Rose Emma and our former postal clerks who are still with us. May God continue to bless each of you for your many years of service to the community and to Uncle Sam.