Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cana Store and Post Office

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

On our spring photography trip to North Carolina in 2010, Joann and I stopped at Murray's Mill Historic District. We finished our visit with a late lunch near the old mill.

As we packed up from our picnic, Joann asked me if we would be on the backroads or if we would be driving on the highway for a ways. Sometimes during vacation when we will be on the highway for a while, I drive to give Joann a break. I said it was highway for a ways to get closer to our motel, but there was an old store that I wanted to see that was just north of the highway.

We hit the highway and drove until we found the exit for the old general store. Driving just a few miles north, we came to the two-story building.

The community of Cana was named after the first store owner and postmaster, James H. Cain. The store is a gable-fronted building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While we were at the store, a white cat lolled around the front steps. I’m sure it was taking every opportunity to find mice around the old building as well as to meet anyone who stopped at the store to photograph the history.

The post office was closed in 1954 while the store continued to operate until 1964. The store has been carefully preserved, but is not open to the public.

This summer it was announced that the US Postal Service would be closing many small post office locations for budget reasons. One of the articles I read stated that they may open what they are referring to as “village post offices” in grocery and convenience stores. They would be responsible for hiring someone to staff the village post office, and they would not be able to do everything that the closed post office locations could. In some cases, this would help the elderly or mobility challenged in these small communities.

I can’t help but think that as our economy continues to evolve, we are reverting back to some of our previous ways. Maybe in some ways, the old timers did know best.

Happy Shunpiking!

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