Lace Post Office Building and
A Brief Account of the Burleson Post Office

110 South Main Street
By Robert Griffith, Updated March 2009

On 10 October 1881, M.W. Bailey purchased the first lot in Burleson from G.M. Dodge of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. Three months later, on 17 January 1882, S.J. Williams was appointed Burleson’s first Postmaster. According to historian Michael H. Beard, Williams, a dry goods merchant operated the post office in his store, a practice which “not only proved efficient for new communities struggling to survive, but also beneficial to the merchant whose mail recipients often became store patrons.” As a result, Burleson’s Post Office moved frequently, depending on who was appointed Postmaster and where their store resided.

S.J. Williams served six months as Postmaster and was followed by John L. Dickey on 4 August 1882; John W. McCabe, a beverage house keeper, on 5 March 1883; Robert H. Martin on 20 January 1885; John S. Armstrong on 28 January 1890; and quickly replaced by Milo Bayard six days later on 4 February 1890. And then…

William Parker Lace

W.P. “Bill” Lace, born 4 February 1862 in Westville, Indiana, became Burleson’s Postmaster on 17 July 1897. Lace grew up near Marystown in central Johnson County, but he settled in Burleson in 1893, opening the Lace Drug Store in a wooden false-front building on lot 2, block 3. His drug store, along with several business houses, burned on the night of 20 February 1895 in a maelstrom which caused significant property damage but which, fortunately, took no lives.

W.P. Lace rebuilt in wood like the other merchants, but when fire again swept Front Street on 21 January 1902, Lace was the first to rebuild with brick. Again, the Post Office took up shop in the Lace Drug Store.

Rural Free Delivery was established in Burleson on 1 April 1901. The Dallas Morning News reported the move on 15 March 1901, stating:

Length of routes 114½ miles and area to be covered 209 square miles. The population to be served is 2,960, living in 591 houses. J.M. Booth, W.A. Self, R.P. Alexander, J.H. Hurst and W.M. Hurst have been appointed carriers. The postoffices (sic) at Oak Grove and Rendon, Tarrant County, and Marystown, Johnson County, are to be discontinued and the postoffice (sic) at Cross Timbers to be supplied by rural carrier from Burleson.

The Dallas Morning News reported a robbery at the Lace Drug Store on 11 December 1903:

Sherriff Long of Johnson County […] reported that the postoffice (sic) at Burleson had been robbed last night and about $150 in money, a $100 check and a considerable number of stamps taken, including 8,000 2c stamps, 1,000 1c, 75 10c, 125 8c, 175 1c due stamps, 125 2c due stamps and 40 10c special delivery stamps. The safe in the postoffice (sic) is said to have been blown to pieces by the robbers.

The increase in population and addition of rural free delivery necessitated larger quarters for the Post Office. W.P. Lace took action, and on lot 5 of block 3, he constructed the simple brick building which housed Burleson’s first freestanding Post Office.

Brief History of Lot 5, Block 3

Lot 5 of block 3 was originally purchased by T.A. Jackson on 24 February 1882 from the G.M. Dodge Construction Company. Jackson sold the property to J.C. Jones, agent for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad on 21 January 1884. C.J. Edwards erected, in the words of historian Michael H. Beard, “a substantial wooden false front building,” which “would be leased to varied businesses over the next several years.” The Norwood Brothers Grocery acquired lot 5 in 1888. Robert L. Norwood entered into a partnership with C.C. Taylor in the firm of Norwood and Taylor in 1899. In 1903, Norwood and Taylor, with Sam and R.B. Armstrong, merged to form Armstrong, Norwood and Taylor; soon thereafter, they became known as the Big Four (see Big Four Building).

After Norwood and Taylor moved down the street into the Armstrong Brothers Building, the wooden false-front structure built for C.J. Edwards sat vacant. Then on 21 January 1902, Burleson’s second great fire consumed Front Street. Historian Michael H. Beard notes:

Flames were spotted rising from the rear of Mr. Hornbaker’s store by the new Katy agent. Having no fire department, citizens […] battled the inferno throughout the night. At dawn’s first light, […] merchants took note of the inventory salvaged and resting along Front Street.

C.J. Edwards sold lot 5 to Samuel Finley Hackney on 7 August 1902. Then on 10 December 1908, Hackney sold lots 4 and 5 to W.P. Lace. The two-story S.F. Hackney Building occupied lot 4 and the northern 5' of lot 5, but the remainder of the property remained vacant. Lace saw an opportunity, and he constructed the present-day single-story structure for the Post Office soon thereafter.

Lace’s tenure as Postmaster ended when Robert G. Bransom assumed the title on 30 January 1915, but Lace returned to that position on 8 August 1923. Three years later, on 4 April 1926, W.P. “Bill” Lace died at the age of sixty-four. Lace’s wife Catherine Jack “Kittie” Lace, although fifty-six years of age, became Burleson’s “Postmistress.” Kittie Lace continued operating the Post Office until Albert Hendon Loyless took it over on 15 July 1935. Loyless opted to move the Post Office to the storefront adjacent his drug store on Ellison Street a block away.

The Burleson News ran this photograph on October 27, 1960 and identified the men, left to right, as:
Postmaster Bill Lace, Milt Booth, Will Self, Sam Alexander, Jim Hurst, and Marion Hurst.

The Post Office Building on lot 5 at 110 South Main Street was sold to Jess Garner on 27 March 1939. Garner operated a barber shop at that location, fondly remembered by many older residents, for several years.

Ca. 1930 photo of the Garner Barber Shop
Left to right, Fred Moritz, W. Newt Wood, Melvin Dunn,
Cobern Stephens, Jess Garner, and Truman Griffin.
Photo Courtesy of a Friend

In 1979, the building housed the Burleson Poodle Shop. During part of the 1980s, Clip, Snip & Fix Beauty Shop operated in the building. Like other buildings on Main Street, the Post Office Building had periods of vacancy. Since 1997, Market Centre Salon Day Spa has contributed to the revitalization of Burleson’s Historic Downtown.

Lace Post Office Building (far left) in 1979
Photograph Copyright Michelle Griffith

Lace Post Office Building (far left) in the 1980s
Photograph Copyright Michael H. Beard

Market Centre Salon Day Spa, August 10, 2008
Photograph Copyright Robert Griffith

Burleson Post Office Since 1950

A.H. Loyless retired as Postmaster on 30 May 1954. On 31 May 1954, Daniel Boyd Scott took over, moving the Post Office to Scott Grocery, in the old S.F. Hackney building adjacent to the former Post Office Building on Main Street. Then on 7 January 1956, Loren A. Turner became Postmaster. Burleson’s population in 1920 stood at 241, but by 1950 it had reached 791.

Turner commissioned a new post office around 1960; located at 225 West Renfro Street, it became the second structure purpose-built for a post office. Turner handed over the reins to Bill Johnson in 1972, and on 4 August 1976, Johnson was appointed Postmaster. Burleson’s population exploded to 7,713 by 1970, and in 1980 it reached 12,704. Again, the post office needed to expand, and the present-day structure at 232 SW Johnson Avenue was christened in 1981.

Burleson Post Office, 1973
Photographer Unknown

Online Resources
A Lace Family in America, compiled by Charlotte Schaper.

Bibliography
Burleson Historical Committee. Burleson - The First One Hundred Years. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1981.
“Burglars at Burleson.” Dallas Morning News 11 December 1903.
"Burleson and Her Business Men as appeared in The Burleson Banner." Burleson News 25 October 1945.
"Conflagration at Burleson." Dallas Morning News 21 February 1895.
“Fires in Texas.” Dallas Morning News 22 January 1902.
"Rural Free Delivery." Dallas Morning News 15 March 1901.
Schaper, Charlotte. "A Lace Family in America." Collection of Mary Ruth Arnold, Burleson, TX. No Date.

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