The 1959 McHenry Post Office

Following the Second World War, McHenry, like much of the country, grew quite a bit. With population and businesses expanding, the need for postal services grew as well. At 26 employees, the Post Office was the largest business in McHenry. According to the US Census, in 1950, the population in McHenry itself was 2,700 people. However, by 1957, the population actually served was 24,000 people, which was estimated at about 6,400 families. The number being higher due to a mix of people living in town and those living in rural areas. These numbers as well as the quantity of material processed through the post office and new subdivisions being planned at the time called for a new postal facility with more modern amenities to be constructed.  

Picture taken from 13 Mar 1958 McHenry Plaindealer, showing illustration of proposed building.

Oddly enough, until recently, McHenry was the only city in the country that had two post offices. The main office was on Riverside Drive and the new postal station was on Main Street. (The Main Street location was designated a “station” in 1950, but provided many of the services that the Riverside Drive office did.) In March of 1958, city leaders decided to act on a federal program that gave financial aid to a town or village that needed a new postal facility. During 1958, over 55 new Post Offices were built in Illinois alone, with another 33 lined up in the early part of 1959. It was decided that the site for the new Post Office would be on the former Miller residence, now home to Jett’s Heating & Air. Being on Green Street and just north of Route 120, it was a nice central location for the new facility.  

Picture of Ray McGee speaking at the Post Office Dedication. Compliments of the 1 May 1959 Pictorial Newsletter.

The building was constructed during the late summer and fall of 1958, with staff moving into the new facilities in February 1959. The building would be over 65,000 square feet with a parking lot large enough to fit a semi-trailer transport truck. Some of the new highlights were a spacious lobby and a brand new stamp machine. To celebrate the new building, the city had a dedication. The guest of honor was Representative Elmer Hoffman. Hoffman would give a speech and a parade followed, with the McHenry High School Band providing the music. This was all capped off by a tour of the new facilities. The new Post Office was a crowning accomplishment for Post Master Ray McGee, who was Post Master for over 25 years. McGee also owned the finest men’s clothing store in McHenry. Later in the year, he would retire as Post Master with a testimonial dinner at the popular local restaurant, the Wing n Fin. As a gift, he received a new set of luggage to enjoy retirement. The Green Street location functioned until October 1990, when the Post Office moved into its current location on Crystal Lake Blacktop. By that time the Green Street post office was itself too small for the growing population of McHenry.

Picture of Ray McGee at the Post Office Dedication. Compliments of the 1 May 1959 Pictorial Newsletter.


  • “Work Under Way” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 15 Jan 1959, 16. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “First Post Office Established In 1837” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 23 Mar 1950, 1. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “Ray McGee Cited…” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 3 Dec 1959, 1. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “Rep. Hoffman Guest Speaker” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 23 Apr 1959, 1. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “McHenry Post Office History” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 30 Apr 1959, 22. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “The Dedication of McHenry’s New Post Office” The Marengo Republican-News. (Marengo, IL) 23 Apr 1959, 4. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “Post Office Moves to Green Street” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 19 Feb 1959, 16. Web. 6 Apr 2021.
  • “Approve Green Street Site For New Post Office” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 13 Mar 1958, 1. Web. 7 Apr 2021.
  • “Prepare For Election of Post Office” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 31 Jul 1958, 1. Web. 7 Apr 2021.