Old Cobbs Creek P.O. building demolished

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 13, 2019 - 01:24 PM

Photo: Colanne “Lanie” Bunting of Cobbs Creek looks over memorabilia gathered over decades by her grandmother, mother, and herself, all of whom served as postmasters at Cobbs Creek Post Office. The old post office building, shown below, once sat in Bunting’s yard, at the corner of Buckley Hall Road and Linden Avenue. It was demolished on Valentine’s Day.

Colanne “Lanie” Bunting of Cobbs Creek looks over memorabilia gathered over decades by her grandmother, mother, and herself, all of whom served as postmasters at Cobbs Creek Post Office. The old post office building, shown below, once sat in Bunting’s yard, at the corner of Buckley Hall Road and Linden Avenue. It was demolished on Valentine’s Day.

Photo:
Photo: This photo, taken around 2000, shows four former local postmasters, June Rowe-Mathews,  Anne Diggs-Cobbs Creek, Colanne Bunting-Cobbs Creek, and Ernestine Haynes-Blakes.

This photo, taken around 2000, shows four former local postmasters, June Rowe-Mathews, Anne Diggs-Cobbs Creek, Colanne Bunting-Cobbs Creek, and Ernestine Haynes-Blakes.

Photo: Billy Williams his wife, Vernah, who together operated the store and Cobbs Creek Post Office at the corner of what are now Buckley Hall Road and Linden Avenue.

Billy Williams his wife, Vernah, who together operated the store and Cobbs Creek Post Office at the corner of what are now Buckley Hall Road and Linden Avenue.

The old Cobbs Creek Post Office, a cornerstone of the Cobbs Creek community for over half a century, was demolished on Valentine’s Day, after a recent storm peeled away the roof of the building.

Colanne Bunting, owner of the property, which was located at the corner of Buckley Hall Road and Linden Avenue, said the decision to demolish the structure was an emotional one for her. It had been in the family since 1924, when her grandfather, Billy Williams, purchased it and took over operations of the grocery store and gasoline station that once occupied the building.

Williams built his home adjacent to the store and acquired the contract to operate the Cobbs Creek Post Office there, said Bunting. Then his wife, Vernah Williams, became the first postmaster to serve in that location, beginning in 1934. Vernah was succeeded by Bunting’s mother, Anne Diggs, in 1960, and in 1985, Bunting herself continued the family tradition by becoming the Cobbs Creek postmaster.

Bunting recalled the days when kerosene for household heaters was sold inside the store from “a big, square tank with a crank on top.” She said the customer would turn the crank up to be a gallon, put a container underneath—usually a glass milk jug—and dispense the kerosene.

The store also sold gasoline at a tank outside, and Bunting said she remembered one time when a neighbor, Mr. Pritchett, pulled his tractor up to get gas, but the tractor was hot, and it caught on fire.

“Everybody had to get together and push the tractor away from the tank,” she said.

When Hurricane Hazel came through Mathews in 1954, said Bunting, she and her mother walked over to the store in order to check on Bunting’s grandfather. But the wind was blowing so hard that, by the time they were halfway across the yard, they had to drop to their knees and crawl the rest of the way. They had only been in the store a few minutes, she said, when the wind peeled back the side of the metal roof “like a corned beef can” and “deposited it in the middle of the road.” The three of them were suddenly looking at the sky, she said. Two men kindly gathered the roofing material and put it in a nearby vacant lot that belonged to Lumpkin Soles.

In 1987, Cobbs Creek Post Office was moved to its current site in the old Cobbs Creek Elementary School, and the Buntings’ building became a relic of the past.

Bunting said when the roof tore away in exactly the same fashion during a recent storm that it had in 1954, she knew it was time to finally do away with the structure. But it wasn’t easy.

“I grew up in that building,” she said, her voice breaking. “It was my childhood.”