US Post Office Department Mail Equipment Shops

This 1918 warehouse provided equipment crucial for the operations of the postal system nationwide.

This warehouse-type building was erected in 1918 by the Post Office Department in order to centralize the manufacture and repair of mail sacks, locks, boxes, and other equipment for the entire US postal system. By the 1930s, the building housed 500 employees who produced millions of mail sacks and hundreds of thousands of locks each year, designed and patented various pieces of equipment, and annually cleaned and repaired as many as five million mail sacks. The equipment shop was the only major location for mail equipment repairs through 1954 and remained the sole manufacturer of mailbags, locks, individual mailboxes, and keys until 2002. These seemingly mundane functions enabled the delivery of the nation's mail for nearly a century. The building is also one of the first large reinforced-concrete column-and-slab buildings in Washington, brought about by the federal government's early interest in such fireproof facilities.

The MES building is also an early example of a fireproof reinforced concrete warehouse in DC. It also forms part of a larger pattern of early-20th-century construction of industrial buildings along the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad.

DC Inventory: May 26, 2016
National Register: July 11, 2016



2135 5th Street NE