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The Carrizozo post office was named for the Spanish work "Carrizozo" meaning tall dry grass which once grew in the surrounding country and for which a nearby mountain was named. shortly after the turn of the century Frederick M. P. Hunt became Carrizozo's first Postmaster. His commission was dated May 31, 1902. Prior to this time the area had been served by the white Oaks Nogal post offices.
Carrizozo probably would have been no more than a siding and junction with the old Capitan branch of the El Paso and Northeastern railroad if the town of White Oaks had cooperated with Mr. Eddy who was having the railroad built north to tie in with the Rock Island Railroad. Because of the high cost of securing right-of-way through White Oaks, Mr. Eddy decided to by-pass the town of White Oaks and start the town of Carrizozo. Records in the office show that Hunt served as Postmaster until September 30, 1905. Peter E. Lacey then took over and served until march 1907.
Ira O. Wetmore, a man who had taken a great interest in the building of Carrizozo succeeded Lacey and served until 1909 when William Riley, a long-time resident of Lincoln County, was appointed. Riley was an excellent penman and the records kept by him are unusually beautiful and have been admired by many who have seem them. The Riley family still is a prominent and well-known family in Lincoln County. They are Mrs. T. A. Spencer, Sr. and Mrs. Will Ed Harris. Mrs. Nellie Riley, his widow, lived until the later part of 1958 and the character and esteem in which this loveable lady was held is summed up by the name which she was widely known, "Mamma Nell."
In August 1912 Arthur J. Rolland, a prominent Carrizozo business man, was named Postmaster. Her served only until Dec. 1913, but he was a pharmacist and operated a drug store in Carrizozo until his death in 1947. His willingness to help everyone, especially those less fortunate, made him one of the most loved men who ever lived in Lincoln County.
The year 1914 saw a well known newspaper man appointed Postmaster. He was John A. Haley and at the time he assumed charge of the office he was busily engaged in publishing a year book about Lincoln County. The book contained pictures of scenes of Lincoln County and of its leading citizens, a brief history of the county and articles about each community, all of which become more interesting as time goes by. During Haley's term as postmaster, the post office was a central accounting office for Lincoln County. Aileen Lindamood, who is the present postmaster at Alto, is the daughter of John A. Harkey and Georgia Orme Johnson, Edith Crawford and Mrs. Era B. Smith, who served as clerks in the office under him still reside in Carrizozo.
The Lincoln County News carried an interesting item in 1913 concerning the parcel post service which had been established on January 1 of that year. The article told of John Baird of Carrizozo mailing a dog to his friend, Les Harman, at White Oaks. Dogs are not accepted for mailing now and it would be interesting to know just when that part of the parcel service was discontinued. In 1922 Haley was succeeded by Mrs. Elizabeth O. Gumm, a well-known teacher whose husband was a member of a pioneer White Oaks family.
Herman E. Kelt was named to head the office on the death of Mrs. Gumm in may 1933. After serving ten years he resigned and Mrs. Era Smith edited the Lincoln County News but found that it was too much to carry on both jobs so she resigned and Herman Kelt was re-appointed. Carrizozo became a second class office shortly after he resumed charge. Mr. Kelt has the distinction of having served the longest of any Postmaster since the establishment of the office. He has an enviable record as a Postmaster and as a citizen of his community. On Sept. 30, 1957 he took optional retirement.
Roy Harman succeeded Marble Vigil who was acting postmaster after Mr. Kelt. Harman was Assistant Postmaster in the office who took time our in World War II to serve with the army in the China, Burma, India theatre. He began as a clerk in 1936 and is the first career employee to become Postmaster at Carrizozo.
In 1963 the Post Office Department inaugurated the ZIP Code in an effort to simplify mail handling procedures nationwide. This resulted in the establishment of 554 Sectional Centers in the United States. the Carrizozo Post Office was designated as one and was given the number SCF 883. The mails started moving into Carrizozo for distribution on August 17, 1963. This was a real challenge to the Postmaster and the two clerks as more clerks had to be hired and retrained to process and dispatch the mail. Douglas Gott and Nick Serna were the first two hired. With the help of Nolan Jackson, a mail movement specialist from The Denver Office, the operation was a success as they were awarded a Superior Accomplishment Award for an outstanding job. The Carrizozo Sectional Center initially had 34 associate offices including Alamogordo and Holloman AFB. Roy Harman retired as Postmaster on May 1, 1970 after 34 years service in the postal service. Fred S. Chavez was named to succeed Roy Herman but, unfortunately, had a heart attack and passed away on August 20, 1972. Nick Serna succeeded Fed Chavez and is still serving as Postmaster. The office now has 9 clerks. Some of the original 34 associate offices have been closed but the Carrizozo Sectional Center continues to process mail for the remaining offices.
Following are some of the clerks who have served in the Carrizozo Post Office:
|Mrs. Alan Johnson||Mrs. Edith Crawford||Mrs. Era Smith|
|Mrs. Meda Haley||Dink Kahler||Elsa Charles|
|Morgan Lovelace||Manuel V. Chavez||Don B. English|
|Joe Devine||John Kelt||Bill Kelt|
|Bill Kelt||Lee Cail||Clara K. Bell|
|Myrtle Hobbs||Catherine Cornett||Thelma Wrye|
Typist note: Another source states that the town got its name for the Spanish word carrizo, with only one "zo" at the end. Later, another "zo" was added as if to emphasize the meaning and identify the town separately from the other places named carrizo.
Transcribed by C. W. Barnum ©2005