Carbondale Post Office

(May 11, 1881 – January 29, 1884)

Carbondale, at the mouth of Silverado Canyon, was the supply town for the Santa Clara Coal Mine. Historian Terry Stephenson said that the original application for a post office used the name Harrisburg, after mine superintendent Tom Harris, but it turned out there was already a Harrisburg, California, in Alameda County, so the Carbondale name was coined. It appears there was about a three-month gap between the official creation of the post office and its opening. The press release announcing its creation is dated June 19, 1881, but it was not until August 2nd that the Los Angeles Herald reported: “A new post office called Carbondale has been established at the Santa Clara coal mines, Santiago Cañon, and Thomas J. Oliver appointed postmaster.” This was always a small post office; in 1883 it received mail only two days a week. 


Thomas J. Oliver, 1881-1883

Thomas Oliver ran the store in Carbondale and also served as Road Overseer for the Silverado Road District. He seems to have died in San Francisco in 1885. 

Samuel Shrewsbury, 1883-1884

Sam Shrewsbury (1833-1901) was a Santa Ana Mountains pioneer. He was the first to keep bees in the canyons, his 1860s lime kiln gave Limestone Canyon its name, and he was the first settler on what was later Helena Modjeska’s ranch. He later moved to Silverado Canyon where he was on the original school board and had a second lime kiln during the Carbondale boom in the early 1880s. 

(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)