‘Postmark La Jolla’ marks 75 years of deliveries

Exhibit, lectures, celebration kick off Aug. 12

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

The United States Post Office and La Jolla Historical Society are teaming up to make the 75th anniversary celebration of La Jolla Post Office something unforgettable.

The activities include the Aug. 12 opening of an exhibit at the society’s Wisteria Cottage called “Postmark La Jolla” and a series of talks on “History of the U.S. Postal Service in La Jolla.”

“The post office has a long history in La Jolla as a center of communication,” noted Michael Mishler, the Society’s archivist and curator. “That’s how people got news of the world.”

Mishler said “Postmark La Jolla” will display images, letters and postcards taken from the Society’s collection, including one item from La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps writing her nephew during World War I.

There’s also a special free event marking the anniversary from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the facility at 1140 Wall St.

The anniversary celebration is going to be homespun, promised Janet Evans, head of a local committee planning the event who has a special La Jolla Post Office connection: Her father worked there for more than 30 years.

“We are planning an old-fashioned gathering with cake and lemonade and a color guard and the Pledge of Allegiance,” she said. “The most exciting thing is going to be the unveiling of a brass plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary purchased by (the late) Roger Craig for the historical society. It will be unveiled on the steps of the post office and mounted on the wall of the front entrance.”

Susan Recchia, a customer relations coordinator with San Diego Postal Service, said they will also offer tours of the facility.

The program will include La Jolla Postmaster Jeff Olsen, La Jolla Historical Society President Connie Mullin Branscomb and First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner.

The historical society’s Fall 2010 Lecture Series will open on Aug. 26 with a talk by Society curator Mishler and historian Carol Olten offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of La Jolla’s postal history.

On Sept. 16, the series continues with UCSD emeritus professor of Literature Bram Dujkstra discussing the much-beloved post office mural in a speech titled “Belle Baranceanu, the Public Works of Art Project, and the La Jolla Post Office Mural.”

Completing the lecture series will be an Oct. 7 presentation by noted local architectural historian Diane Kane discussing “The La Jolla Post Office: Architectural Icon of the Depression Era.”

Each lecture begins at 7 p.m. at historic Wisteria Cottage at 780 Prospect St. Tickets are $10 lecture/$25 series for members and $12 lecture/$30 series for nonmembers, and are available at

or by calling (858) 459-5335, ext. 1.