The Costa Mesa Post Office, circa 1930 (courtesy the Orange County Archives).

The Costa Mesa Post Office, circa 1930 (courtesy the Orange County Archives).

Costa Mesa Post Office

(May 11, 1920 –        )

Costa Mesa (and its post office) was originally known as Harper (see); both the town and the post office were re-named in 1920, in part because of confusion with the community of Harperville in what is now Garden Grove.


Charles W. TeWinkle, 1920-1925

Charles TeWinkle was running a hardware store when he was appointed postmaster of the Harper Post Office in February 1920. Three months later, he became the postmaster of the Costa Mesa Post Office. In 1922 he and his partner briefly sold the hardware store to the firm of Barnard & Bjorgo. Presumably because the post office was located in the store, Andrew Bjorgo was nominated for postmaster, but TeWinkle managed to hold onto the job and later returned to the hardware business. When he decided not to seek re-appointment as postmaster, several local residents scrambled for the job, including Justice of the Peace Donald Dodge and F.O. Ross, secretary of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce. “Both Mr. Dodge and Mr. Ross have a host of friends in the community. It is reported that two and possibly three other citizens will place petitions in circulation within a week’s time.” “At the time Mr. TeWinkle went into office, there were but 12 boxes in the office. Now there are over 200 boxes. Two thousand persons living in Costa Mesa and the surrounding district are served by the post office.” (Santa Ana Register, 11-24-1924) Charles TeWinkle later served as the first mayor of the City of Costa Mesa when it incorporated in 1953. TeWinkle Middle School is named in his honor; it opened in 1964, shortly after his death. 

Walter W. Middleton, 1925-1933

It was Walter Middleton, a resident of Costa Mesa since the 1910s, who eventually won the recommendation of the Orange County Republican Central Committee. “Mr. Middleton will maintain an office in the hardware store for the present, or until he receives permission from the department to make a change. His new location will be in the real estate office of F.E. Russell, adjoining the printing plant of H.F. Schick and the office of The Costa Mesa Herald. Mr. Russell will move into Blossom Court. Miss Nina May, daughter of Postmaster Middleton will be his assistant.” (Register, 4-20-1925) The move allowed customers to access their post office boxes after hours. 

Norris Mellott, 1933-1941 

Hazel E. Wilcox, 1941-1943

Hazel Wilcox “succeeds Norris O. Mellott, her father, who retired July 1 following seven years’ service…. Mrs. Wilcox has been with the Costa Mesa post office for six years.” (Santa Ana Register, 7-19-1941) 

James W. Hathcock, 1943-1944 (Acting Postmaster)

A Huntington Beach Union High School graduate, James Hathcock “for a number of years was with Smart and Final in Santa Ana. At the present time he is in the grocery business in Costa Mesa.” (Register, 7-18-1940) After the war he moved to Covina where he continued in the grocery business. 

Mrs. Hazel E. Gill, 1944-1962

Hazel Gill was living in Costa Mesa as early as 1936; she died in office in 1962. 

John B. Klugiewicz, 1963-1973

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