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Burien Beginnings: Sunnydale Post Office opens on January 20, 1887. Essay 486 : Printer-Friendly Format

On January 20, 1887, Sunnydale Post Office opens. Michael Kelly is appointed postmaster. Sunnydale was located immediately south of Burien, 10 miles south of Seattle. It is now part of Burien. The post office itself was located at 145th Avenue SW and 16th Avenue S, which is now Sea-Tac Airport in the City of SeaTac. The opening of a post office is an important marker of the beginning of a community.

Michael Kelly, the first postmaster, handed out mail from his porch. Lee Kelly, Michael's daughter, got the mail by going to South Park and picking it up there. Before the post office was established the story is told that mail was left in a hollow stump at 152nd Street SW and 16th Avenue S and was picked up and delivered to nearby neighbors.

From May 16, 1892, to July 17, 1896, Marcus De L. Hamilton purchased all or part of Kelly's acreage and established the post office in his living room at 15061 16th Avenue S. His wife picked up the mail from South Park twice a week. Hamilton unsuccessfully operated a hog ranch.

From July 18, 1896 to September 30, 1896, the post office suspended operations. Then, from October 1, 1896, to January 16, 1900, Orestes M. Cole operated the post office from his home.

Subsequently, from January 17, 1900, to August 6, 1902, John C. Horan operated the post office from his home near SW 154th Street and 16th Avenue S. From July 7, 1902, to August 15, 1903, William W. Wilcox conducted postal business from his porch at SW 154th Street and Des Moines Way.

The post office did not operate from July 17, 1896, to October 1, 1896, and it permanently closed on August 15, 1903.

Guy Reed Ramsey, "Postmarked Washington, 1850-1960," Microfilm (Olympia: Washington State Library, February, 1966), 602-603.

Travel through time (chronological order):
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Burien (King County), 1800s
Courtesy UW Special Collections (Image No. WAS0094)

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