It’s the sixth of July and Postmaster Geri Canzler feels the pressure to get ready for this post office's big day.
“Tomorrow is 125 years," she says.
It’s amazing that the Bridal Veil post office survived at all. The town did not.
Pictures from the Oregon Historical Society show the men and women who lived in Bridal Veil during its boom days. The trees were massive, and they were in big demand in Portland and Asia. The rail road ran right through the mill. The original post office was there, too. There was a school. There were stores and a hospital.
And then everything changed. Bridal Veil Lumber Company sold to a box-making company in the '30's, which then went out of business in 1960.
“They owned the town, employed all the residents of the town, and as happens with company towns, when the company ceases operation the town ceases operation," says Kerry Tymchuk, Executive Director of the Oregon Historical Society.
The mill eventually burned to the ground. The post office handled what little local mail was left.
And then a couple years later, something remarkable happened. Brides began to make the special effort to box up their wedding invitations and send them to Bridal Veil’s post office to get that post mark. It’s the only place to get that postmark in the world.
“Our post office. That's it. Can’t go anywhere else with 'em,” says Postmaster Canzler with a smile.
Over the years the volume grew to its peak in 2005. Canzler said she stamped 250,000 wedding invitations by herself, each by hand. It's slower now but still considerable for the one-person office.
“I did well over 1,000 yesterday," she says. "I was tired.”
But each invitation gets special care, even love, from the postmaster.
“Well they count on that. Some of them came a long way, some of them are frightened a little bit, you know, this big event in their lives is coming up and some are very particular. So you just want to make it right for all of em,” Canzler says.
She wants the brides and their guests to enjoy the special postmarks. She has a connection there, too; Canzler designed them and convinced the government to make them official.
“I do have a personal interest in the way they look," she says. "I put a lot of time and effort into making the designs for them so I’m happy about that, too. I actually get to see the finished product. Thousands of times.”
Now it’s time to spruce up. Postmaster Canzler is sweeping with a chewed-up yellow broom. She expects a big crowd Saturday as friends and strangers gather to share stories and marvel at the little post office, still standing tall in Bridal Veil.
The post office is 26 miles east of Portland. To get there, head east on Interstate 84 and take exit 28. The post office is on the right. The 125th birthday celebration runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.