LINDSBORG ‒ The Post Office petunias are glorious, a great swell of radiance in the large planter beside the steps, bending with the wind, proud and defiant against the heat.
Over the entrance a clerestory gleams, its paint-ed flowers brilliant along the frame and panes; brushwork blooms spill along the glass on either side of the doorway.
Inside, magnificence in a small space: the old wood, polished; the heavy, high writing tables; the etched and frosted glass in doors that say Janitor, and Postmaster. On the west wall above the oak of the Postmaster door, the striking Sandzén mural, Kansas Stream. Past the framed teller windows, a small alcove retains its sturdy bank of drawers with raised numbers and boxes with tiny windows, keyholes at the ready. These walls of wood and buffed brass speak of times ago when things were sturdy and complete and unalloyed.
Pockets of beauty ‒ physical, lyrical ‒ are foot-ings for this town. The streets scrubbed to the curb every Friday; the parks ‒ Swensson, Riverside, Carlson and tiny Lucia and Keding ‒ trimmed and fit; surprise plantings spill out at a street corner or curl about a fire hydrant or burst along an alley; at Seasons of the Fox, water tumbles over rocks into a pool at the center of lush gardens; nearby, the campus of Bethany College is a park in itself but busy again with renovation. The Sandzén Gallery gardens flow like the gesture of a fine host, inviting guests to linger for a moment, then come inside.
Downtown storefronts are alive, bright, with plantings in window boxes, along railings, in pots and boxes along the sidewalks; tables and chairs here and there, places to rest. There is music: Swedish of course, and classic rock and jazz. The other afternoon we thought we heard Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker all in one sitting. Paul Desmond was there, another time.
Jim Prugh continues to work his magic, restor-ing structures at once to future function and his-torical significance, even the official register. The Swedish Country Inn is under new ownership with plans for a remodeling. By the dozen, new owners have sprouted here and there in recent years, bring-ing energy and youth to the commercial scene and the civic groups. Bright colors, too.
Result: People with spirit and energy, a brighter, more buoyant city.
The Post Office (continued):
This building has been with us since 1936. A brass plate near the door notes that it is in the National Register of Historic Places. A stone inlay in the brick planter tells us the officials responsible at the time in, 1935: Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury; James A. Farley, Postmaster General; Louis A. Simon, supervising architect; Neal A. Melick, supervising engineer.
It stands gallant and solid at Second and Lincoln, still active, still crucial. Not long ago we’d been hobbled with a bum leg, and wondered how to wrestle the two large boxes that had been sent to us; without missing a beat a postal worker carried them outside and placed them in the car. It’s a plea-sure, she said, and hurried back indoors.
The pleasure is ours. By the look and feel of it, this building and its people are as vital and valu-able as ever, still quite a treasure.