Post office returns to Tehkummah

by Lori Thompson

TEHKUMMAH—After an eight-month gap, the post office has re-opened in Tehkummah with a new location and a new postmaster. The old post office was closed in June 2014 after former postmaster Joan McMurray retired.

On Monday, March 9, a cheerful Diana Pyette was busy stocking shelves and dealing with last minute details. A former storage room used by the Tehkummah library was converted to accommodate the post office. There is a small lobby with numbered lockboxes and a mail collection box. Inside is a sorting area and a retail counter.

The last day for delivery to the temporary community mailboxes was Friday, March 6. Customers were asked to pick up their mail and return the keys to the new post office on Monday, bringing identification to sign up for their lock box delivery.

As often happens, there was a glitch on opening day. The verifone (a customer display system that accepts debit and credit card payments while offering signature capture for payment and other types of personal receipts) wasn’t working and customers weren’t able to sign up for their lock boxes. The repairman went to the wrong address and finding no one there, went back to Sudbury.

Postmaster Pyette remained positive, as did the customers. “People were disappointed when they had to use the community mailboxes, but they’ve been very understanding today,” she said. “I think everybody’s excited to get their boxes.”

Currently residents of Sheguiandah are dealing with the closure of their post office as Canada Post seeks a new postmaster. The implementation of community mailboxes at the Howland Seniors’ Hall took place late last week.

The post office has a long history in Tehkummah, dating back to October 1, 1874 when Samual R. McKewen was the first appointed postmaster. He also happened to be the reeve of Tehkummah. The original post office was located at the Smeltzer farm (now the Anstice’s). Joan McMurray held the position for 29 years, from June 1985 to June 2014. Ms. Pyette is the 14th postmaster.

Hours for the Tehkummah Post Office are Monday, 9 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 PM to 6 pm. Tuesday through Friday hours are 9 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 until 4 pm. It is located at 456 Hwy 542A, at the Municipal Office. The telephone number is 705-859-2008.