Goodland’s post office at 124 E. 11th looks far too solid to have moved around to three communities. But looks can be deceiving. The post office was in Gandy first, then moved to Sherman Center before finally settling in Goodland.
Gandy receives Sherman County’s first post office
Felix T. Gandy applied for a post office in his family’s namesake town in 1885. The Postal Department looked favorably on his application and established the post office (PDF) within the week of Oct. 31, 1885. Gandy seemed well on its way to success. Besides Sherman County’s first post office in a town, the county’s first newspaper, The New Tecumseh, opened in Gandy Nov. 9, 1885. The town also established the county’s first school district.
However, no town was secure until it had achieved county seat status. Gandy was not alone in the county seat contest. Other communities were in the race for county seat. They intended to poach all they could from Gandy. The newspaper left (PDF) for the town of Itasca. Eventually, the post office left for Sherman Center — with Gandy’s name still attached.
Gandy post office moves to Sherman Center
In July 1886, the Sherman Center News reported (PDF) that the post office had been moved to “The Center”. The community also had petitioned the Post Office Department to change the post office’s name to Sherman Center. The postal department sent an inspector to The Center. In spite of Sherman Center’s wishes, the inspector declined to drop the name “Gandy”. The state already had Shermanville and Sherman City post offices, Sherman Center was too close to other names of post offices in the state. The situation was embarrassing to The Center. The town was locked in a battle with Eustis for the county seat title. Their respective newspaper editors warred with words over the post office — and everything else. The Sherman Center newspaper accused Eustis of trying to prevent their desired name change. The paper said Eustis had hoped the inspector would discontinue the Gandy office. The Eustis paper hotly denied the accusation.
The post office moves to Goodland
Six months later, Eustis got its wish — if it had made such a wish. But, as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”
When Sherman Center lost in the county seat sweepstakes, the townspeople moved their buildings and themselves to Goodland. The post office known as Gandy followed along. It left Sherman Center Dec. 1, 1887. It traveled a short distance to Goodland. The office would still be known as Gandy until the first of the year. To coincide with the beginning of a quarter, Jan. 1 would see the post office take its final identity.
After a prolonged fight, Eustis finally submitted to the inevitable. Goodland would become the county seat. Eustis, too, moved to Goodland.
More hop-scotching to come
While the post office had finally received its permanent name, it had yet to receive its permanent home. That would come in the 1930s.
The initial post office would only last until Jan. 9, 1903, when a fire destroyed an entire block of Main (PDF). The office moved around several times before settling into the 900 block of Main.
The 1930s were a grim time. Between the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, the nation suffered. Unemployment soared to 25 percent. Because he offered hope to the nation, a New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932. After his election, he created a “alphabet soup” of agencies. Some of that alphabet soup was served in Goodland. A new post office was among the other New Deal projects in Sherman County.