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Russell House Post Office Boxes, USC: 2000s(?)   9 comments

Posted at 1:17 am in Uncategorized

The Horseshoe Deli now occupies the space in the first floor Russell House foyer which used to house the student post office boxes for most (or perhaps all) campus residents.

The Post Office box facility was rather oddly shaped in that it was a rectangular block set in the middle of the current deli space. There was a door to the Russell House courtyard at one end while the other end was open to the foyer. The entire rectangle was covered with old-style (combination lock) post office boxes on all four sides except for a door allowing Postal personell access to the inside so that mail could be put into the boxes. (There may also have been a window, though no full service post-office-like functionality was provided -- you could not buy stamps or mail letters). I don't remember what my PO Box number was, but my box was on the side of the rectangle nearest to Greene Street, and was at a moderate height which involved no stooping or craning.

Since Russell House is more or less in the center of campus, and since I lived in Douglas, which was at the far edge, my practice was that if it looked like it might rain during the day, I would take my compact umbrella with me from my room, and if it wasn't raining by the time I got to Russell House, and if it was after morning mail delivery (which it usually was as I avoided early morning classes if at all possible!), I would put my umbrella in my PO Box and go on with my day. As I'm sure most of you have guessed, this worked well until the day the spring catch decided to release inside the mailbox, turning the umbrella (which was point-first into the box) into one of those objects that can only be pushed one way (like a cable tie or Chinese finger-cuff). I finally had to wait until the next day and ask a postal worker to retreive it for me...

I'm not sure when the PO Boxes were moved. It appears to me that some have been put upstairs by the old game room, while the majority have been put in the "Carolina Underground" basement mall.

Written by ted on November 11th, 2008

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9 Responses to 'Russell House Post Office Boxes, USC: 2000s(?)'

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  1. I lived on campus for one year around 1990 or so and never once went and opened my mailbox.


    11 Nov 08 at 5:56 pm

  2. You should have gotten an umbrella.


    11 Nov 08 at 6:10 pm

  3. The mailboxes were there when I was at USC 1993-97. I think they moved them in the early 00's when everything seemingly was revamped on campus. At least the Grand Marketplace is still there, though it looks more like a fine dining establishment now than the cafeteria look it used to have.


    16 Nov 08 at 1:51 pm

  4. It had been upgraded between my time and yours as well. It was pretty basic when I got there (when, I think, ARA) was in charge. They changed the concessioneer during my term and that got rid of the grainy industrial ketchup, but it was still nothing to write home about. I remember that at the "grill" in the middle, if you ordered a burger, they took it out of a pot of steaming water and slapped it on the griddle long enough to boil it out..


    16 Nov 08 at 2:04 pm

  5. They started tearing them down the summer after my sophomore year, which ended in Spring 2001. I used mine all the time, but I moved off campus for my Junior year, so no biggie at the time. But now that it's been a few years and the nostalgia has started kicking in, I start to miss them occasionally.


    25 Nov 08 at 3:27 pm

  6. The mailboxes were moved to Carolina Underground before 2002. I know this because I was a freshman in 2002 and had the mailboxes downstairs.

    In 2002, Russell House was a COMPLETELY different place than it currently is now (2003- beyond). It would be nice to see a blogpost on the whole transformation.

    Carolina Underground featured mailboxes, a barber shop, a Sub City, and maybe some other offices. All of that seemed to close except for the mailboxes, and more offices moved down there- along with an on-campus print shop.

    What really made the most drastic change was the downstairs cafeteria. The whole layout and appeal changed. Upstairs took on a whole new look as well. As a sophomore coming back to USC, I almost couldn't believe the transformation- it didn't seem possible. The staircase leading up to Taco Bell was torn down and a staircase was added near the Russell House bookstore- where a wall was blasted for easier entrance.

    Wow, I would love to see photos since it all happened so fast.


    8 Feb 10 at 5:20 pm

  7. When I was at USC in the early '60s, the post office at the Russell House was full service. (My box number was 2414.) The lower outside corner of the building next to the post office was a laundry/dry cleaning pick up place. On the ground floor was a campus store, a barber shop, and the main cafeteria that had a partitioned off section for athletes. Rumor had it that football player Corky Gaines once got into an argument and sent a platter of food sailing over the petition into the main cafeteria. The food service was run by Slater, which was bought by ARA.

    On the second floor was an auditorium, a help desk, lounge areas, the Gamecock room (a hamburger and fries place), a then new student cafeteria, and the faculty dining room. There were lots of meeting rooms and offices for student organizations.

    To the right of the Russel House was the new library fronted by Davis Field. It was where we ROTC students drilled.


    8 Feb 10 at 7:48 pm

  8. box 81765! the cool thing was to personalize the window with an icon that represented what you were "about".....mine had the Vans "off the wall" logo, cut from a Vans shoe box. I was such a goober!

    Scott Johnson

    29 Aug 10 at 10:55 pm

  9. I was at USC from '96 to '01... And the boxes were there during my time. I lived at wade hpton and bates west from, freshman to junior year... Moved off campus during my last year, and didn't visit the RH much, during that time.

    Dee Dee

    27 Jan 13 at 3:17 am

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