For over 100 years, downtown Nashvillians have depended on the centerpiece of the Nashville Arcade: the post office. But, the century-old institution has shut its doors. On Friday, Jan. 6, longtime patrons visited and stamped their final pieces of mail.
It was a slow afternoon in downtown Nashville’s open air shopping center. Customers passed under a gilded Art Deco sign to enter the U.S. Post Office. They exchanged familiar hellos with staff, retrieved their mail, purchased stamps.
The Arcade, located between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, originally opened in 1903. The post office followed suit soon after. But, when the Arcade sold for $28 million in 2021, USPS’s lease was not renewed.
So, Friday was the last time many would enter — and no one seemed happy about it.
“I’m extremely disappointed that the new owners of the Arcade decided to toss the post office out on their ear,” said Randy Miles, a Nashville attorney. Miles has been working nearby for the last 25 years, but doesn’t plan on visiting the Arcade often after the post office closes. “All the downtown businesses have relied on this post office for years and years and years.”
One of those businesses is located less than a hundred feet away: Percy’s Shoeshine Service. The owner, Robert “Percy” Person, had been getting his mail here for 33 years.
“Really and truly, it’s a big letdown. And it kind of hurt me, because this is where my mail comes. I got a post office box. So now, I got to try and do something else. It’s just a big letdown,” Person said.
The post office isn’t the first business to close up shop in recent years. But, as frequenter Joe Prochaska said, it’s a serious loss.
“I can’t imagine the Arcade without the post office. It would be as if the peanut shop were leaving too; I hope they’re not!”
The post office is relocating all patrons to the location beneath the Frist Museum on Broadway. Window services and PO boxes will be available there this week.