Clair Post Office
(June 12, 1895 – September 29, 1900)
Area residents originally asked for a post office to be known as Magnolia, after the local school district, but it was rejected by the Post Office Department because it was too similar to name of the Magalia, California, post office in Butte County. So instead, it was named Clair, after the name of J.M. Gilbert’s ranch – Clair Villa (perhaps because he offered to build a post office building). “We all regretted losing the prettier name for our post office,” the local newspaper correspondent noted. (Anaheim Gazette, 8-13-1896) After Margaret Thompson declined the position, Gilbert also agreed to become postmaster. He had to carry the mail himself from Anaheim and the post office seems to have been located in his home. “Our new postmaster complains that his office in Clair is not sufficiently patronized. But the fact is it never will be, as long as it remains in its present location, in the middle of a seventy acre field.” (Gazette, 3-5-1896) Finally in April 1896 Gilbert began construction of a building along Magnolia Avenue near Cerritos Avenue, in what is now the City of Stanton. It was praised as a “monument to Mr. Gilbert’s energy and public spirit.” (Gazette, 4-16-1896) This short-lived post office was an early victim of the arrival of rural free delivery.
John M. Gilbert, 1895-1897
John Gilbert owned an 80-acre ranch southwest of Anaheim. Gilbert Street is named for him. In 1911 the City of Anaheim purchased part of his ranch and announced plans for a sewer treatment farm. To block the plan, residents of the Clair/Magnolia area incorporated the City of Stanton. Gilbert had moved to Compton by then, and claimed he knew nothing of the sewer plans when he sold out to the city.
Edith M. Barter, 1897-1900
Edith Barter was appointed postmaster after Alfred Barter’s appointment (presumably her husband) was not confirmed.
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)