YOSEMITE — “I knew my destiny when I first experienced Yosemite,” Ansel Adams’ words could not be truer for Yosemite Postmaster John O. Reynolds. After decades of working for the United States Postal Service, Reynolds will be leaving exactly where he started over 44 years ago in the majestic Post Office nestled in Yosemite National Park.
On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Yosemite Postmaster John O. Reynolds will clock in for the very last time after 44 years of Postal Service. He won’t be leaving without a party though, there will be a special send-off at 11:30 a.m. at the Yosemite Post Office, Yosemite National Park, 9017 Village Drive, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389.
“My good fortune to start my Post Office career is where I am ending it, right here in Yosemite National Park,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds started his postal career in the summer of 1979 by chance. He went into the Post Office to visit his mother, who worked at the Yosemite Post Office for 43 years, when the Postmaster approached him about a job.
“My good fortune was the misfortune of the returning casual clerk. He was involved in a motorcycle accident and shattered his leg,” said Reynolds. That’s when the Postmaster at the time asked him if he had a summer job. Reynolds replied he did not.
“Without a word being said he brought out the wooden stamp and cash credit drawer that belonged to the misfortune clerk who had shattered his leg the day before and said, ‘Count this, you’re hired’.”
Reynolds worked as a casual until he became a career employee in the summer of 1983. He went on to step into management and was promoted as the Postmaster of nearby El Portal in 2004. In 2012 his dream position, the Postmaster of Yosemite, became available and he applied in a heartbeat.
“The allure and love of living in Yosemite my birthplace was too strong. No matter what I did in the world I would always be drawn back to this place.”
He was awarded the position that fall.
As the Postmaster of Yosemite, Reynolds was able to live and raise his family in the place that he has always known.
Reynolds has had unique opportunities in his role, including participating in National Postal events. The highlight of his career was when he shook hands with sitting President Barack Obama (right) on his Father’s Day visit to Yosemite in 2016.
“When asked when I am out and about walking the valley checking the disposition of the erosion pattern, ‘How’s are things going today, John?’ My reply is usually ‘Livin’ the Dream’.”
There were serious responsibilities that also came with working in this marvelous but vulnerable geography. Being Postmaster in Yosemite, according to Reynolds, centered around trust.
“Part of that trust is not only in their mail needs, but guidance of reassurance during many of the natural disasters that have occurred here in Yosemite over the years. Rockslides causing road closures. Wildfires and floods involving complete evacuation of Yosemite Valley. Nature disasters can be a great source of stress and anxiety, the unknowing. Which in turn I think causes people to look for an anchor, reassurance from a place that one can always trust.”
“That is why it has been such a great pleasure to work for this wonderful organization called the U.S. Postal Service.”
Yosemite Post Office
Yosemite National Park
9017 Village Drive
Yosemite Valley, CA 95389
A Quick History of the United States Postal Service
The history of the post office dates back to ancient civilizations, where messenger systems were used to deliver messages and goods. In the United States, the post office has a rich history dating back to the colonial era.
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the post office as a government department, with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. At the time, the post office was primarily used for sending official government communications and newspapers.
In the following years, the post office expanded its services to include mail delivery for individual citizens, and by the mid-19th century, a network of post offices and mail routes had been established across the country. The introduction of the penny post in 1847, which lowered the cost of mailing a letter, made mail more accessible to the general public.
The post office also played a critical role in the expansion of the country during the westward expansion of the 1800s. Mail routes were established to remote areas, and post offices were built in growing towns and cities. The post office also played a role in the economic development of the country by helping to connect people and businesses.
In the 20th century, the post office continued to adapt to changes in technology and communication. The introduction of the telephone and telegraph reduced the need for letter writing, but the post office adapted by expanding its package delivery services and increasing its focus on marketing mail.
Today, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent government agency that provides mail and package delivery services to every address in the country. The USPS continues to play a vital role in connecting people and businesses, and it is an important part of the country’s infrastructure.
The history of the post office is a story of adaptation and evolution. From its early days as a government department to its current role as an independent agency, the post office has played a critical role in the development of the United States. It has connected people and businesses, helped to expand the country and adapted to changing technology and communication, and today it remains an essential part of the country’s infrastructure.