The Carson City Post Office is an imposing late 19th-century building
encompassing an entire block in the heart of Carson City. It was the second
Federal building erected in Nevada (the first was the U.S.
Mint), although it housed the third location of the Carson City Post
Office. The cornerstone for this building was laid in September 1888,
and the building was complete and occupied by May 1891. The comprehensive
use of brick in construction by architect M. E. Bell, the textural qualities,
the immense squareness of the building and the clock tower, in addition
to rectangular and arched fenestrations, are all typical of the Richardsonian
Romanesque style. This style combines Romanesque Revival with Chateau-style
massing and silhouette. This building is the only example of this architectural
style within the state of Nevada.
Carson City Post Office
Photo by Terri McBride,
Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
Originally, this building functioned as the Carson City Post Office, Land
Office, Weather Bureau and U.S. District Court. It included Carson City's
first and only clock tower, which rises approximately 106 feet above street
level. In 1908, the restrooms were upgraded; in 1935, an elevator was
installed, the first in Carson City. Then in 1955, a brick loading dock
was added to the rear, the lobby was enlarged and the chimney was removed.
In 1971, the building ceased to function as the Post Office, which moved
to a new building two blocks to the northeast. In 1972, an extensive interior
renovation was completed to accommodate the State Library. Very few modifications
have been made on the exterior, so the building's appearance is much the
same today as it was over 100 years ago. The wood window and door frames,
cast iron columns, safes manufactured by National Safe and Lock Company
and the clock tower are all original. Today, the Nevada Commission on
Tourism is the main occupant of the building.
Historic photo of the post office from
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Reproduction Number
The Carson City Post Office is located at 401 N. Carson St., at
the corner of Carson and Telegraph sts. in Carson City. The building
is open to the public 8:00am to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. The clock tower
has recently been restored to working order, chiming on the hour.