When you park in the South Franklin Street lot near the YMCA of Northern Rock County, remember the post office and Labor Temple that sat on that very spot.
Opened in 1903, the two-story post office exhibited the classic revival style that swept the country after the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, according to a story in the March 1974 Gazette.
Six columns with Corinthian capitals graced the front of the building, and a stone eagle perched on its roof.
When the post office opened, Janesville’s population was about 13,185. The city fathers thought the structure would be sufficiently large “even though the city grows as expected.”
However, by 1939, the city had grown much more than expected, and the post office was moved to a new building on South Jackson Street. For a few years, the old post office sat empty. In 1943, it became the new Labor Temple.
The downstairs had a bar, and the upstairs served as a meeting room and dance hall for weddings.
In 1973, the Labor Temple and its organizations agreed to sell the building to the city, and in August 1974, it was demolished.
‘A(n) asphalt parking lot is expected to be constructed on the site this fall in time to “accommodate Christmas shoppers,” according to City Manager Robert Bailey,’ The Gazette reported in August 1974.