Nippon Station post office branch is established in Seattle on September 15, 1905.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 5/19/2008
  • Essay 8620

On September 15, 1905, the Nippon Station post office branch is established in downtown Seattle. The station is located at 216 2nd Avenue S, in Pioneer Square. Edythe L. Wolfe is the postmistress. She is a clerk at the Furuya Company, where her husband serves as bookkeeper.

On August 28, 1905, The Seattle Times ran the following item concerning the Nippon Station.

"A local station for the handling of Japanese mail has been established in this city. It will be located at 216 Second Avenue South, which is near Main Street, and will be known as Nippon Station. Mail will be received at the station and distributed among Japanese people only. Stamps, money orders and all the advantages offered by the uptown office will be afforded the patrons of the new station.

 "For more than a year the leading Japanese of the city have been asking the department to establish a station in that part of the city commonly thought of as the Japanese section. A large amoun [sic] of mail is received for the  ... [racial slur deleted] and much of it is so difficult to read that it is often necessary to have some assistance from a native Japanese. The department deemed it wise to follow the advice of the local office and establish the station.

"Japanaese mail heretofore was sent to the Japanese Y.M.C.A., the Oriental Trading Company and to the Furuya Company, one of the large oriental wholesale houses of the city. Occasionally mail was lost and often it was misplaced and delayed. The new arrangement, by which a station is to be established, will obliterate all these difficulties.

"No other mail will be received at or sent from the station. It will be limited exclusively to the people for whom it is established. The postal department will allow only $100 for the maintenance of the office during the first year. The rest, if any further expenses need be incurred, will be borne by the Japanese people themselves.

"The station will be established September 15."

In 1915 the Nippon Station became a contract post office. (It was run independently of the United States Postal Service but could sell stamps and so on.) The Nippon Station was discontinued on January 16, 1944.

Sources: Guy Reed Ramsey, "Postmarked Washington, 1850-1960," p. 747, Microfilm, Washington State Library, Olympia, Washington; "Japanese Station Established" The Seattle Times, August 28, 1905, p. 4; Lauren Suls, Research Analyst, Postal History (Washington, D.C.) to Ernst A. Swanson, April 28, 2008.

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