Once on the brink, office marks bicentennial

Clarksville Post Office one of the area’s first

— An historical landmark for the residents of Clarksville next week would not be happening if it were up to the United State Postal Service.

On Wednesday, June 27, the Clarksville Post Office celebrates 200 years of service. Last May, residents were informed of the decision to close the branch because business was slow. Through the work of community members and Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, the decision was overturned.

“Our post office is one of the oldest in the area,” said Joseph Hogan, president of the Clarksville Historical Society. “It goes back very early, we’re like the fourth post office in Albany County.” Hogan said he has been doing research on the post office for 10 years.

Clarksville was originally known as West Bethlehem after 1793 and housed Bethlehem’s first post office beginning in 1812. In 1832, the Town of New Scotland and the Town of Bethlehem were separated. The next year, the original Bethlehem post office has its name changed to Clarksville in honor of resident Adam Clark.

The USPS officially decided to close the branch in August of 2011. By that time, residents had already begun a campaign to overturn the decision led by local lawyer Peter Henner.

Members of the community wrote letters in favor of keeping the post office, including Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, who at the time was in the midst of negotiations with the Bethlehem Central School District to lease the closed Clarksville Elementary School.

In his letter, Apple maintained that once the Sheriff’s Office and Albany County Emergency Operations Center moved to the former Clarksville Elementary building, a post office would be needed in the vicinity. Apple said certified letters, packages and “bulky mail” is sent from the office on a daily basis.

“The closing of the Clarksville Post Office would have an adverse impact on the Sheriff’s Office, and might affect the Sheriff’s Office’s plans to locate its substation in Clarksville, to the detriment of the town,” he wrote.

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