La Habra Post Office
(November 22, 1895 – May 15, 1903; January 29, 1912 – )
Typical of 1890s post offices, La Habra had to fight with Washington to keep its two-word name, but according to local historian Esther Cramer, “persistence on the part of [town founder W.J.] Hole and others was rewarded.” Authorization for the La Habra Post Office was received from Washington on December 21, 1895 and the post office opened January 1, 1896. Once again, the arrival of rural free delivery in the area caused the closure of the office and it was not revived for almost nine years.
Zachary T. Coy, 1895-1902
Zachary Coy was the brother-in-law of town founder W.J. Hole and opened the first store in the valley in October 1895. When rural free delivery from Fullerton was established in January 1902 Coy lost a good deal of business. He died unexpectedly that June, at age 55. La Habra historian Esther Cramer suggested that his economic anguish was “perhaps a factor in [his] untimely death.”
Margaret Coy, 1902-1903
“Maggie” Coy briefly took over the La Habra Store after her husband’s death. She was pregnant at the time, and had a son that September. She sold the store in 1903 to a man named McCloud and left the area.
Clarence M. Glazier, 1912-1914
Clarence Glazier came to La Habra in 1909 and he and his brother, Newton, took over the only grocery store in town from M.H. Mills. Though he was postmaster only briefly, he ran the Glazier Bros. store until 1930 and was still in town as late as 1953.
Cynthia J. (Badford) Mills, 1914-1921
“Cinie” Badford came to La Habra in 1913 and two years later married Wendell P. Mills, whose family owned stores in Whittier, Brea, La Habra, Montebello, and Yorba Linda. On her death in 1963 at age 87 the La Habra Star (9-30-1963) noted: “The pioneer resident will be remembered for her visits to the ill and those in need of comfort during her many years in La Habra. During World War II, she worked a night shift at a defense factory – although she was past 65 at the time. It was a dungaree job. She also provided transportation for several other women.”
George M. Eaby, 1921-1933
George Eaby had been born in Kansas and was in Los Angeles by the 1890s. He came to La Habra in 1906. In the 1920s he served as secretary of the La Habra Walnut Growers Association and was on the board of the Index Orchards citrus packing house. During his tenure as postmaster La Habra got its first separate post office building (used until 1952). Eaby also pushed for the launch of home delivery in 1929. In 1930 he was appointed to a third term as postmaster. “When Mr. Eaby first took charge of the office it was in the third class, but several years ago was raised to second class, with a considerable increase in salary and clerk allowance. Mr. Eaby was instrumental in securing for the city free mail delivery under the ‘village delivery’ plan. Probably by next year the office can secure regular ‘city’ delivery, but this would make no material difference to the patrons, according to Mr. Eaby, the only difference between the two systems being in matters of administration and compensation.” (La Habra Star, 5-14-1930) But Eaby was an early victim of the switch from a Republican to a Democratic administration in Washington and was “removed” from office in May 1933, “in accordance with a plan developed by the party leaders some time ago to replace republican officeholders with democrats as rapidly as possible, without regard to when their terms are to expire…. Information then leaked out of the capital that a plan had been formulated to oust republicans wherever excuse could be found and replace them with ‘acting postmasters.’ This has been done in a number of instances. The acting postmaster holds office by appointment only until the regular term expires, which in the La Habra case would be until May, 1934. The appointment for a regular term of four years then has to go through the regular form of civil service examination, with anyone who wishes and is eligible being allowed to complete…. Excuse for hastening proceedings in La Habra was not defined beyond a remark about ‘irregularities.’ As soon as word got about that such procedure was contemplated friends of Postmaster Eaby organized a campaign in his behalf and protests were sent to Washington opposing the scheme to throw him out. Some prominent democrats were among those protesting.” (Star, 6-2-1933) “Eaby said that the ‘irregularities’ referred to were of a very minor nature and concerned department ‘red tape.’” (Santa Ana Register, 6-3-1933) Eaby continued to be active in the community for many years and was still on the Index packing house board of directors as late as 1956.
Bertha Hilbert, 1933-1953
George Eaby’s Democratic replacement, Bertha Hilbert, was a recent widow. Her husband, Rollo Hilbert, a local druggist, had died in 1931 at age 38. She served 20 years as postmaster before retiring in 1953. “Mrs. Hilbert has won the admiration of the people of the community for her work in the post office and also her congenial and every trying efforts to solve the many problems that have arisen. She has been active in community affairs and always willing to help wherever she could.” (Star, 5-7-1953) She retried to Palm Springs where she died in 1966 at age 75.
Marion M. Davis, 1953-1961
Lurline J. Allee, 1961-1962 (Acting Postmaster)
Lurline Allee, a “well known local resident for 40 years” and an active Democrat was appointed acting postmaster in 1961, but did not take the civil service examination required to seek a full appointment. After leaving the post office she was appointed to the State Democratic Central Committee.
James A. Cummings, 1962-1971
James Cummings moved to La Habra in 1934, joined the post office staff in 1939, and had been assistant postmaster for 15 years before being appointed postmaster in 1962. A year later he told the papers: “Today, we have 85 employees, we cover 33 city routes and operate nine government vehicles to serve 38,000 people. Our annual receipts for 1962 totaled $375,000. In December of 1945, we sent out roughly 100,000 pieces of mail. In the same month last year, 1,375,000 pieces were sent out.” (La Habra Star, 3-13-1963) Besides four contract stations, in 1965 a new main post office building opened in La Habra. Former postmasters Eaby, Hilbert, and Allee attended the dedication.
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)