New post office puts stamp of change on Elkridge


June 12, 2000|By William Lowe | William Lowe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JUNE LILLY COBB remembers a time when postal delivery, like everything else, was different in Elkridge. Each day, Cobb's grandfather Bob "Pop" Lillywould briefly close his Main Street barbershop and pick up the outgoing mailbag at Boswell's General Store. Then he would hang the bag on the mail post by the tracks and watch as the train passed.

From the moving train, the outgoing bag would be swept off the post and the incoming bag left behind. Lilly would carry the mailbag back to the general store for distribution.

"If Grandpa was real busy in the shop, he'd let one of us grandchildren carry the mailbag," Cobb recalled.

A new era in postal service began in Elkridge on May 25 with the much-anticipated opening of the Elkridge post office on Santa Barbara Road. The opening of the building marks the first time Elkridge has had a post office in a structure devoted exclusively to that purpose.

The 1878 Atlas of Howard County identifies James Earpas Elkridge's postmaster. Earp operated the post office from his general store, establishing a practice that would be followed much of the next century. Longtime Elkridge residents recall the post office being housed at Earp's and Boswell's general stores on Main Street, among other locales.

Most recently, a partial-service post office operated from Wilhide'sFlowers on Montgomery Road. However, when Wilhide's closed its Elkridge shop last year, residents resorted to using post offices in nearby communities such as Halethorpe, Ellicott City and Hanover.

Elkridge has had a ZIP code for three years. Formerly, residents endured the minor barb of receiving mail with a Baltimore address. The new post office, like assigning a ZIP code, testifies to the recent growth of the community.

With growth, however, comes change. Locating the new post office in the Route 100 Business Park is a sign that the commercial center of the town has shifted from the cluster of buildings along Main Street in Old Elkridge.

Although the post office has been operating for several weeks, the Postal Service is phasing in operations, and many residents are unaware that the building is open for business.

"It's been pretty slow so far," said postal clerk Guy Puig. "It seems to get a little busier every day, though."

Carriers for Hanover and Elkridge will operate from the new building. The old Hanover post office will remain open for retail service. Hanover carriers began operating from the new post office June 5, and Elkridge carriers will make the move from Halethorpe by the end of this week. Elkridge postmaster is Theodore Lewis.

The official grand opening of the Elkridge post office will be held June 26 and will include an appearance by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin. The post office will offer a special cancellation to commemorate the event.

The Elkridge post office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Information: 410-796-7808.

Swimming records

Doris Russellrecently demonstrated that she still excels in water. The 80-year-old Ellicott City resident broke four YMCA national records for swimmers in the age 80 to 84 division. Russell set national records in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 50 butterfly and 100 butterfly. Russell's achievements helped the Anne Arundel County YMCA team win first place among a field of 55 teams at the YMCA National Meet in Augusta, Ga.

Notable graduates

When Kenneth Byerlyof Elkridge received his diploma from Howard High School on June 2, it not only marked a significant personal achievement, it also continued a long family tradition.

Since 1956, members of Byerly's family have almost continuously been enrolled at Howard High School. Kenneth was preceded as a graduate of the school by his mother, father, sister, brother, three uncles, three aunts and eight cousins. Congratulations to Kenneth and all of the area's high school graduates.

For Sarah Smith of Ellicott City, graduating from Mount Hebron High School was one of two recent accomplishments. The Kiwanis Club of Ellicott City selected Smith as the recipient of a $12,000 scholarship. The award money will be distributed over four years of college study to help cover Smith's tuition and living expenses.

Talented youth

Six Burleigh Manor Middle School pupils were recently honored at Talent Search 2000, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth (CTY). Clayton Alexander, Jenny Chen, Mimi Cheng, Hannah Coakley, Greg Eden and Ming Leongreceived awards for being among the highest-scoring participants in Maryland on an early SAT administration for exceptional middle school pupils.

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