Seal Beach Post Office
(January 24, 1914 – )
Seal Beach and its post office were originally known as Bay City (1904-1914). After a slow start, the town was revived and renamed in 1913.
Andrew M. Simington, 1914-1915
Andrew Simington came to California from Colorado around 1910. He died in office in October 1915 at just 50 years of age.
John H. May, 1915-1923
John May was one of the founders of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the local school board and briefly as city judge (1922-23). In 1923 he resigned from both the post office and his judgeship. “It will be a welcome day for Mr. May when he turns over the job to the new man, for his failing health has made the work a burden to him for some time past.” (Santa Ana Register, 7-19-1923)
Branham B. Brown, 1923-1924
Branham Brown came to Seal Beach around 1909 and was “very prominent in civic affairs,” serving at different times as city clerk, city judge, and justice of the peace. He also ran a grocery store in Seal Beach. He resigned as justice of the peace to become postmaster, and recommended the man he defeated at the polls the year before as his replacement. But his stint as postmaster was brief, and he resigned early in 1924. “Mr. Brown finds the work too heavy a physical strain owing to [a] handicap which makes the long hours of standing exceptionally hard for him, he declared. Mr. Brown has filled the office with credit to himself and satisfaction to the Washington officials and to the public, it is said.” (Santa Ana Register, 3-20-1924) In a letter to the community announcing his resignation (Register, 3-26-1924) he wrote: “It has always been my delight to serve you in this public capacity during the past eight months, and it now becomes a regret that my present physical disability forces me to quit. I expect to continue [as] a resident in Seal Beach and will do my utmost to promote the material and commercial interests of our little city.”
Anna E. Collier, 1924-1933
Anna Collier became acting postmaster when Branham Brown “asked to be relieved to recover his health.” “Appointment to the acting postmastership is considered virtually the same as becoming postmaster. Mrs. Collier has been assistant to the postmaster for a year. She received the highest grades in the recent civil service examinations at Santa Ana. She is a Republican.” (Register, 6-3-1924) She later received a regular appointment and held the post until Democrat Franklin Roosevelt moved in to the White House.
Michael L. Collins, 1933-1943
Michael Collins ran a grocery store in town. He had previously been involved in a drive to move the Seal Beach Post Office to a more central location. “The present location of the office [the Zarrell Building], it is pointed out, is undesirable. The office is not on a paved street and citizens object to walking through dust and mud to get their mail. It is also claimed that the situation of the present office is dangerous as children going after mail have to cross the Pacific Electric tracks. The office is also in an out of the way locality, it is claimed.” (Santa Ana Register, 3-5-1926) The push resulted in the post office moving in 1927 to the Templeton Building. Collins died in office in June 1943.
J. Jolly Jones, Sr., 1943-1948
Frederick W. Hickman, 1948-1951
“Frody” Hickman was active with the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce in the 1940s. In 1953 he was appointed City Clerk and served for 14 years. When he retired the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported, “Over the years he has served as city tax collector, city assessor, postmaster, a city planning commissioner, secretary of the local chamber of commerce and chairman of the local Office of Price Administration.” (10-22-1967)
Worth Keene, 1951-1972
Worth Keene came to California as a child in 1925. A World War II veteran, he came to Seal Beach in 1946 and worked for the Veterans Administration before being appointed postmaster. When he took over, the Seal Beach Post Office had only six employees – by the time he retired two decades later, it had grown to nearly one hundred. To accommodate the growing operation, in 1970 a new post office opened as 308 Main. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Keene also served as a trustee of the Orange Coast Community College District. He died in 1977 at age 57.
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)