East Irvine Post Office
(October 1, 1965 – November 8, 1974)
The old Irvine Post Office in what is now Old Town Irvine lost its name to the new master planned city of Irvine in 1965. “The historic little town of Irvine becomes East Irvine Friday to clear the way for the use of the Irvine name by the city which is starting to rise around the new university campus. The name change officially comes about through the Irvine Post Office whose box holders voted in favor of ‘East Irvine’ over such other choices as ‘Myford’ and ‘McFadden.’” The new Irvine Post Office was merely a branch of the Newport Beach Post Office, located in a trailer “in the fledgling University Town Center” and headed by H. Thayer Payne. “Resident in the university area are 500 students in Mesa Court residence cottages on the campus. But by mid-1966 there may be more than 3,000 permanent residents in the area.” (L.A. Times, 9-30-1965) The East Irvine Post Office survived until 1974, when it became a branch of the Santa Ana Post Office.
William A. Cook, 1954-1966 (died 2/27/66)
Bill Cook’s family were lease farmers on the Irvine Ranch for more than half a century. In fact, Cook (1915-1966) was born were the El Toro Marine Corp Air Station was later located. After graduating from Tustin Union High School in 1933 he went to work for the Irvine Bean & Grain Growers Assn. In 1951 he took over the Irvine General store and got the post office in the deal. His wife, Lodema, originally held the title of postmaster (see listing under Irvine), then Bill Cook took it over until his death in 1966.
Lodema K. Cook, 1966-1969
Lodema Cook resumed the postmastership after her husband’s death and continued to operate it out of a small corner of the Irvine General Store.
Ethel Poh, 1969-1974
Post Office records show that Lodema Cook retired in 1969, and list no postmaster for the remaining five years of the East Irvine Post Office’s life. But in 1971 the Los Angeles Times (7-25-1971) reported that Ethel Poh was running the post office while Betty Schoonover was running store. Schoonover’s husband, Charles, bought the store from the Cooks in 1966 and put his wife in charge. “She wanted something to do so I bought her a job,” he joked. Like most of the previous owners, they lived upstairs.
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)