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Valley Rewind: Azalea Post Office

Courtesy of Swannanoa Valley Museum  |  Special to Black Mountain News

This June Glenn photograph of the Azalea post office was originally published in the March 15, 1957, edition of the Asheville Citizen. The post office, located approximately where the entrance to the Billy Graham Training Center is now near exit 55 off I-40, closed on March 31, 1957. The newspaper reported that Franklin Lewis, the postmaster at the time the office was closed, found records in the building dating to 1896, when the post office (and surrounding area) was still known as Glen Inglis, thought to be named after the great-grandmother, Richmond Margaret Inglis, of Scottish settlers. (Service to the area began in 1880, and the post office was then known as Langs or Longs.) In 1909, Samuel T. Lewis (notice the sign over the building) took over as postmaster, built a general store and moved the post office into his store (pictured here), at which time the name was changed to Azalea. Because the train didn't stop at the post office on its way through town, the mail had to be thrown onto the moving train as it sped by. In 1947, Samuel retired and his youngest son, Franklin took over until service for the 13-box post office was transferred to the Oteen branch of the Asheville Post Office. Submitted by the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, 223 West State Street, Black Mountain.