The Village of Bronte: Preserving the Past
The Bronte Post Office
The postal service was established in Bronte in 1851, several years before the construction of the post office in 1870. Before the existence of the stand-alone building, the post office was housed inside a hotel or a general store.
The first postmaster was Algernon McKay with help from his son-in law, William McCraney. They were succeeded by John Ingledew who also operated a shoe store in the building. John Ingledew's descendent, Will Ingledew, sold the business to the Flumerfelt family. The Flumerfelts looked after the post office until about 1955 when the federal government decided that Bronte no longer required a free-standing post office.
J.S. Flumerfelt, who bought the business from Will Ingledew, produced a series of postcards showing scenes of Bronte life. He also operated a grocery store in the same space. Later J.S. Flumerfelt's son, Allie Flumerfelt, took over as postmaster; however, due to other interests he left his sister Mary Pickard and her husband Ed to manage the post office on his behalf.
The building remained vacant until in 1975 when it was converted into an art gallery. Four local artists (Marjorie Bakewell, Ethel Boileau, Dorothy Keene and Celia Kainz) decided to purchase the old post office and restore it. The gallery was named 'The Old Post Office Gallery' and it became a place for the four artists to exhibit and sell their own work as well as other artists.
After 11 years in business, the gallery was threatened to be demolished. Local residents got together to save the historic building. With nowhere to relocate the building, the town was about to give up. Thankfully, Bill and Donna Hill offered a part of their property for the post office's new home. In 1987 the post office was officially designated as a historic property.
The gallery was re-opened for a short while by Ethel Boileau, but was taken over by Robert Koolen who renamed it 'Bronte Harbour Fine Arts.'
Courtesy of Bronte Historical Society
The Bronte Post Office has been re-located next to Glendella Cottage to make room for luxury condos. Part of the negotiations for the condo included saving some of the historical Bronte buildings.
Glendella Cottage and Bronte Post Office, 2013 Details
Glendella Coattage and the Bronte Post Office, two historic Bronte buildings now sit side-by-side, safe from demolition and restored to their former selves.