Gustavo Duarte clears off some of the debris left by a storm Monday that took the top off the Old Vail Post Office. Residents hope to resurrect the 1908 adobe building, a recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places, as a welcome center.



The Old Vail Post Office was the original center of Vail. It was built in 1908 of adobe after the former wooden building burned down. In addition to facilitating the mail-by-rail system, the post office served as a general store and a bar.


A storm on Monday ripped portions of the building's roof off and caused other damage.

Community members have helped with the upkeep of the post office, reattaching and painting the wood trim, cleaning up the inside and helping with adobe stabilization.

The old post office at 13105 E. Colossal Cave Road, between the railroad tracks in Vail, is an Arizona Centennial 2012 Legacy Project and is newly listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Vail Preservation Society is a finalist in the national Pepsi Refresh Project, competing to win $50,000 for restoration and community oral histories.


"We're trying not to get discouraged," said J.J. Lamb, director of the grass-roots Preservation Society formed in late 2007 to restore the building."We're going to pick up the pieces and keep this moving forward."

To mitigate future storm damage, a temporary canopy may be built over the building, Lamb said.

Ultimately, society members want to turn the building into a welcome center and restore part of the interior to resemble the 1908 post office and store.

"We like to think of this little building and the area between the tracks as the heart of our community. We're just not willing to let it fall down. We're going to keep fighting to save it," she said. "It's incredible to me how that humble little building still has the ability to bring community together. I think that's the real power of preservation."

How to help

Donations to the Preservation Society for the roof repair are being accepted at all Pyramid Credit Union locations.

They also can be mailed to the Vail Preservation Society Raise the Roof Fund, P.O. Box 982, Vail, AZ 85641.

- Kimberly Matas, Arizona Daily Star