History Behind Dwight IL Post Office – 60420

Dwight’s present Post Office was built in 1936-37. It is the fourth Post Office in Dwight. The first was in the residence of Simon Lutz in 1854. The first Postmaster, appointed December 22, 1854, was John Conant, who lived where Napa Auto Supply is currently located – at the corner of Mazon Avenue and Old Route 66. Mr. Conant served for three months. In April 1855, David McWilliams was appointed Postmaster and the Post Office was moved to East Main Street into his new store, which later became Seymour Drug Store. The drug store was later remodeled and became the new addition to the Bank of Dwight. On September 1, 1898, the Post Office moved to West Main Street to a building referred to by the old timers in town as the “News Stand”. The “News Stand” building was demolished and the site is where the addition to the First National Bank of Dwight is located, now known as Dwight Banking Center of Peoples National Bank of Kewanee. In 1937, the Federal Government built the present Post Office on the corner of E. Mazon Ave. and N. Prairie Ave. – the very location of the first Post Office, which was Simon Lutz’s property. The Post Office had come full circle. That particular lot was also where Leslie E. Keeley built a home in the late 1800’s, and later where John R. Oughton lived. An explosion and fire destroyed the Oughton home. Years later, tennis courts were also located on this property. The new Post Office was a $60,000 building. It was built as a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. At the time, unemployment was 25%. Large projects such as the Hoover Dam were built by the WPA, as well as smaller projects such as township gravel roads. In 2003, a $50,000 repair to the building was completed, which included a restoration of the mural inside the Post Office. Over the first 100 years of Postal service in Dwight, there were 16 Postmasters from John Conant to Clarence Sorensen. In later years, many more have served, including John R. Christensen, Mary Wheeler, and current Postmaster appointed this year, Shawn Gregory. It is the hope of the Dwight Historical Society to have more pictures displayed of the other Post Office buildings at the Historical Society Museum, in the old depot on West Main Street, on June 4 (6-04-20), and displayed in the museum later in the year – when they hope to find normalcy once again.

Author: paper