The Cardington Post Office was another of the business buildings that withstood the ravages of the June 1981 tornado, even though it was located close to the center of damage, on the corner of South Marion and West Second streets.
The building that originally stood on that lot was a Methodist Protestant Church constructed at a cost of $650 in about 1860. Contractor was Leumas Cook one of the founders of the village. It served as a church until 1866 when the membership became larger. They built a church on the corner of Walnut and South Marion, today’s First United Methodist Church.
The old building became a community center with performances by traveling artists, magicians (remember the Bartone shows?) and by local groups. I recall photographers taking pictures of the children in the community and they were published in the local paper, several of which I have.
In 1948 the building was demolished and the post office was constructed moving from its location in the former First National Bank on East Main Street.
On June 13, 1981 Deb Benson and her co-worker Susan Grundy, a sub carrier, were finishing the day’s work preparing to go out the back door when they noticed people outside all looking west. They soon saw the approaching cloud and hid behind the furnace.
Richard Hack, the town’s only walking carrier at the time was on West Main Street and when the storm approached he joined others in taking cover in the Mathews Service Station. He completed his route coming back to the office but “the scenery surely looked different coming back from when I went out.”
They soon realized they had escaped serious damage to the building.
Deb said the post master, the late Merlyn Crisler, came from his Marion County home to personally deliver the outgoing mail to Columbus because trucks could not enter the town. She said they had the only working phone in town and many people came in to use it. “We kept the post office open but with no electric we were working in the dark,” she said.
The post office is located directly across the street from the bank clock that stopped at 3:21 p.m., the time the tornado struck.
Mail continued to be delivered and postal service lived up to its motto. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat; nor gloom of night stops these couriers from their swift completion of their appointed rounds.” I might add: “Not even tornados.”
Looking back: 70 years ago, February, 1948: Mrs. Billy Smith of Cardington returned home after traveling 5,000 miles by airplane. During that trip she spent three weeks with family in Miami, Florida, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
60 years ago, February, 1958: Carol Rhineberger, Patsy McClenathan, Yolanda Grosh and Judy Lamson, all of Cardington, and all pupils of the Jack Sherick Dance Studios, performed live on a Columbus TV program, “Dance Time,,” that aired on Channel Six.
50 years ago: February 1968: An agreement was reached on the purchase of the remaining 20 acres of land needed to begin construction of the Morrow County Airport located between Mount Gilead and Cardington.
REMEMBER WHEN: Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box? Or when it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
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