Midway City Post Office
(September 27, 1929 – August 6, 1994)
Midway City was one of several little crossroads towns laid out along Orange County’s growing highway system in the 1920s. Fred Armantrout soon opened the first business in town – a drug store – which also provided a home for the post office, with his wife as postmaster. As was often the case, there was a delay between the official establishment of the post office and its opening. “The Midway City post office is to be opened this week, it is announced by Mrs. F.J. Armantrout, postmistress. Fixtures are ready to do in the space in the Armantrout pharmacy allotted for this purpose and there will be 168 lock boxes for rent to patrons wishing them.” (Register, 11-19-1929) Midway City was always a small post office (in 1935 there were just 165 customers) and it was threatened with closure several times over the years as a cost-cutting measure. But the local residents always protested, and managed to hold on to the post office until 1994 it was finally reduced to a branch of the Westminster Post Office.
Fila C. Armantrout, 1929-1930
Fred Armantrout came to Midway City from Pasadena and opened a drug store and soda fountain around September 1928. His wife, Fila, not only served as postmaster but was also treasurer of the local chamber of commerce. The couple left town in 1930.
Bert M. Gorrell, 1930-1932
In 1930, Fred Armantrout traded his drug store to Bert Gorrell for a 40-acre alfalfa ranch in Lancaster, and Gorrell got the post office in the deal. He had previously served as postmaster for the Adams Street station in Los Angeles back in 1905. “Mr. Gorrell is an enterprising young man, coming from Fort Wayne, Ind., about a year and a half ago. He had been employed in journalistic work, having at one time edited the New Haven (Indiana) News, and at another the Payne (Ohio) Press-Review.” Already well past middle age, he stayed in Midway City only briefly before moving to a pear ranch in Norco.
Myrtle C. Robertson, 1932-1938
Bert Gorrell sold the Midway City drug store to Harold Robertson in 1932 and his wife, Myrtle, became postmaster. Together they ran the drug store until 1938, when they moved to Avenal.
Wilma L. (Price) Watts, 1938-1945
When the Robertsons left town, the post office finally moved out of the drug store. It remained in the same business building on Bolsa Avenue but moved a few doors down (next to the branch library. The new postmaster was Wilma Price, a Huntington Union High School and Fullerton Junior College grad (class of 1936). She came from an old time local family (her father, Sterling Price, had run for county supervisor in 1926), and continued as postmaster after marrying Gerald Watts in 1941.
Thomas E. Pryor, 1945-46 (Acting Postmaster)
John E. (“Gene”) Mixer, 1946-1955
Willabelle (Spafford) Foley, 1955-1973
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)