The Mooresville Post Office in Mooresville, Limestone County, is the oldest operational post office in the state of Alabama. Several of the mailboxes have been owned by the same families since before the American Civil War, and it continues to serve local residents.
Mooresville Post Office The town of Mooresville was incorporated in November 1818, predating the state (December 14, 1819) by more than a year. Postal service was established in the area nearly 20 years before the town was incorporated. The original Mooresville post office was located in the Stagecoach Tavern (c. 1821), which is the oldest public wood-frame building in the state. The two-story structure features a covered porch on the front and a brick chimney and external staircase on either end. There are three rooms on the first floor, where the post office was located, and two rooms on the second. Mail may have been handled through the small window on the front.
Historians believe the post office, a small single-story building with an open-gable roof, was constructed in its current location around 1840, based on the type of materials and methods used in the construction. A lack of axe markings on the lumber used in the building suggests that the wood came from a local sawmill, which dates the building after 1840. The handmade bricks used to construct the chimney suggest that the date of construction may have been prior to 1840, however. In addition, the heaviness of the lumber and use of traditional pegged joints, both common traits of earlier structures, suggests that carpenters combined earlier methods of construction with contemporary techniques that emerged after the establishment of the sawmill. The post office boxes are numbered 1 to 48. They, and some furnishings, were transferred from the Stagecoach Tavern during the transition of post offices and are even older than the post office building itself. It is furnished with Windsor chairs and braided rugs that all date to the nineteenth century.
Stagecoach Inn and Tavern The post office has been important in documenting the history of Mooresville. Research from the 1930s used post office documents to reconstruct the town’s early history. That data helped to identify the families, residents, and businesses that existed in the town between 1844 and 1847. It also shed light on postage fees from this period. For example, a fee of six cents ($.06) was charged for mail between Decatur, Morgan County, and Huntsville, Madison County; Florence, Lauderdale County, to Athens, Limestone County, was ten cents ($.10); and between Mooresville and New Orleans, a fee of 25 cents ($.25) was charged.
The U.S. Postal Service rents the post office building which is owned by the town of Mooresville. Visitors are welcome. The building is located at the corner of Lauderdale and High Streets. It is open Monday through Saturday between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The National Register of Historic Places placed the entire town of Mooresville, including the post office, on its registry in 1972 as a historic district. It encompasses 29 acres and includes 14 structures dating from the 1820s to the 1850s.
- Jones, Pat. The Story of Mooresville: A Town Older than the State. Huntsville, Ala.: North Alabama Historical Association, 1968.