▶️ Little Did I Know: What is that post at 4th and Portland in Bend?

Sometimes, hidden treasures are actually sitting right in front of you — hidden in plain sight. In fact, sometimes those treasures sit for 100 years before anyone even notices they exist.
One piece of Central Oregon history that has been around longer than any of us was not fully discovered until recently.
It sits there. Day in and day out at the corner of NW 4th Street and NW Portland Avenue. And nobody notices. Heck, I’ve driven by it at least twice a day for the last two and a half years and I’ve never even noticed it.

But what exactly is “it” in the first place? A plain, gray, average post that looks worse for wear.

For that we turn to Sherlock Holmes. Better known as Mike Berry, a volunteer at the Historical Society and land surveyor.

“I’ve been surveying in Central Oregon for 46 years or so,” Mike said.

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During the height of the pandemic, someone approached Mike with a question.

“We got an inquiry from someone who lives around here asking what this thing was. And no one knew. I mean we know that this is a power pole and that’s a sign, but what’s this thing here? I mean, it’s very old.”

Mike’s sleuthing led him to Uncle Sam.

“I had contacted the Post Office about it, but when this all came about it was during the worst part of the pandemic, so it wasn’t easy to access their archives or anything. But we came up with enough stuff to know what it is.”

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Bend Mail Post 

Mike teamed up with John and Jean Frye from the Historical Society. John and Jean let their fingers do the talking.

“And they started Googling and the answer was found in New York City, there’s a website called Forgotten New York, and it has a bunch of these posts.”

But, what are these posts?

“This right here is a concrete post that set over a hundred years ago and its purpose was as a letter box.”

It’s essentially a monument to a bygone era in the history of Central Oregon — when Bend first started to boom.

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Bend Mail Post

“And by 1920, there were enough homes over here for the U.S. Postal Service to start doing deliveries out this way. At that time there were two letter carriers, and they were wanting to put on a third. And hopefully that one would be on horseback where he could cover more ground back then.”

So this nondescript, average looking, hunk of concrete sat through rain, sleet and snow and, by around the 1950s, got decommissioned.

Yet here it continued to stand. In anonymity. For a hundred years. Until now.

“It’s quite fortunate that this didn’t get taken out,” Mike said. “This sidewalk here is relatively new. They put a ramp in it. They re-did the curbs and stuff.”

And here it will continue to sit. Seeking no fame. No fortune. Asking nothing of the citizens. All thanks to a little Divine Providence. The City of Bend never knocked it down.

Here’s to you, nondescript mail post. You’re an oldie, but you sure are a goodie.

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Bend Mail Post


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