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Alplaus fights to keep its identity, again

Post office struggled to remain open throughout history

Alplaus resident Cliff Hayes talks about the history of the Alplaus Post Office while pointing to old news stories and pictures hanging on the walls of the office.

Alplaus resident Cliff Hayes talks about the history of the Alplaus Post Office while pointing to old news stories and pictures hanging on the walls of the office. Photo by John Purcell.

— Caroline Estabrook became postmaster when it reopened in 1922, which also marked the establishment of the hamlet’s cherished 12008 ZIP code. Residents have expressed concerns about losing the ZIP code once the post office closes shop.

Ida Boyce took over the post office as postmaster in September of 1943 and moved the office inside the former grocery store owned by her father, Jacob, according to a talk given by Merrill Negus, grandson of Jacob Boyce, which Hayes attended. Ida Boyce then moved the post office to its current location on Alplaus Avenue in 1945, but it would be moved several times again before returning.

In the early 1950s, Ida Boyce married Joe Dillman and he opened a bicycle shop in the back of the post office in 1953, according to Hayes. Joe Dillman worked as an expert mechanist at the Schenectady-based American Locomotive Company and the shop served primarily as a hobby. Once ALCO left Schenectady, Dillman retired and ran the bike shop full time, said Hayes.

Boyce choose to retire after serving as postmaster for nearly 30 years. Her retirement began an effort against a possible closure.

“The woman that owned the building and retired in 1972, what she wanted to do was give up the post office … she basically wanted to have the post office moved,” said Hayes. “The postal service really wanted to eliminate the post office.”

After the fight to have the post office remain in 1973, it became a contract office dropping its union-led operations. For the last 10 years, Kathy McGarry Boyle has run the office.

Another crisis develops

Boyle received a letter from the United States Postal Service on Nov. 2 stating the Alplaus office would close by Jan. 6, even though its annual profit is around $40,000. For the third time since 1922, the fight began to save the beloved post office.

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