Burien Beginnings: Sunnydale Post Office opens on January 20, 1887.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 12/11/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 486
See Additional Media
On January 20, 1887, Sunnydale Post Office opens. Michael Kelly is appointed postmaster. Sunnydale was located immediately south of Burien, 10 miles south of Seattle. It is now part of Burien. The post office itself was located at 145th Avenue SW and 16th Avenue S, which is now Sea-Tac Airport in the City of SeaTac. The opening of a post office is an important marker of the beginning of a community.

Michael Kelly, the first postmaster, handed out mail from his porch. Lee Kelly, Michael's daughter, got the mail by going to South Park and picking it up there. Before the post office was established the story is told that mail was left in a hollow stump at 152nd Street SW and 16th Avenue S and was picked up and delivered to nearby neighbors.

From May 16, 1892, to July 17, 1896, Marcus De L. Hamilton purchased all or part of Kelly's acreage and established the post office in his living room at 15061 16th Avenue S. His wife picked up the mail from South Park twice a week. Hamilton unsuccessfully operated a hog ranch.

From July 18, 1896 to September 30, 1896, the post office suspended operations. Then, from October 1, 1896, to January 16, 1900, Orestes M. Cole operated the post office from his home.

Subsequently, from January 17, 1900, to August 6, 1902, John C. Horan operated the post office from his home near SW 154th Street and 16th Avenue S. From July 7, 1902, to August 15, 1903, William W. Wilcox conducted postal business from his porch at SW 154th Street and Des Moines Way.

The post office did not operate from July 17, 1896, to October 1, 1896, and it permanently closed on August 15, 1903.

Sources: Guy Reed Ramsey, "Postmarked Washington, 1850-1960," Microfilm (Olympia: Washington State Library, February, 1966), 602-603.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You