Greenport business owners and residents wrote letters and called the U.S. Postal Service, demanding that the historic, deep blue cast-iron mailbox bolted to the cement pole in front of Claudio’s restaurant be kept where it is.
But their efforts weren’t enough.
On Tuesday, two workers unhooked the mailbox from its post and took it to the Greenport Post Office, where the postmaster is now looking to donate the box.
Greenport Village or the Greenport Business Improvement District may be possible new homes for the mailbox, a postal worker said Wednesday.
Greenport BID president Peter Clarke, who had pushed for the Postal Service to leave the mailbox where it was, said he was “upset” when told the mailbox was removed.
“We really wanted to leave it there,” he said. “We thought it was a bit of Main Street history.”
He said he plans to reach out to the Postal Service to see what it plans to do with the box.
“It’s unfathomable,” said Janice Claudio, whose family owns the nearby restaurant. “Why would they take it away?”
Postal Service spokeswoman Christine Dugas said a manager from the postal service had found that the Main Street mailbox — which had rested on the pole for decades — was too small to hold packages or large envelopes, saying it “doesn’t fit today’s needs.”
A new mailbox was installed on Main Street near Capital One bank to replace the old box.
Ms. Claudio said that she thought opposition from business owners would be enough to keep the mailbox, noting that the mailbox was being used until the day it was taken down.
She said she doesn’t understand why the Postal Service would spend the time and effort to remove the mailbox.
“It just seems sad,” she said. “It’s negative energy spent without purpose.”
Word spread quickly that the mailbox had been removed.
Two Greenporters resting in the shade near the Book Scout on Main Street were chatting about the mailbox Wednesday afternoon, wondering aloud whether a letter writing campaign to the federal government might be enough to bring the mailbox back.
Longtime Greenporter John Burczyk said he can remember reaching up to tuck letters into the mailbox as a child. He said tourists used to stop at the mailbox to take pictures or send postcards.
“You could go walk around here, go to Claudio’s and then send something to the folks back home,” he said.
Ms. Claudio said she plans to ask the Greenport BID to accept the mailbox and turn it into a suggestion box or a place for kids to deposit letters to Santa Claus during the winter.
But others aren’t so confident that the mailbox won’t be shipped away to a museum, as postal workers had previously suggested.
Across the street from where the mailbox used to be, at Preston’s gift shop, longtime employee Marie Doroski seemed resigned to losing the mailbox after the letter-writing campaign failed.
“There’s no use in speaking up, because nobody listens,” she said.