If you have visited downtown Geneva, IL this season, you may have seen a new building pop up on the old courthouse lawn. The North Pole Post Office has returned again to quaint 3rd Street to delight littles and bigs alike just in time for the Christmas season.
The History of the North Pole Post Office - Geneva, IL Branch
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Santa reached out to the Geneva Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and Hogan Design & Construction (HDC) to help him with his conundrum - he just couldn’t visit with all the kids that year due to safety issues. However, he still wanted to be able to hear about area children’s Christmas lists.
Thus the idea came about that the North Pole Post Office would open up a branch in Geneva, IL. The structure was quickly erected and a desperately needed space was available to celebrate the season and provide a little bit of normalcy to a markedly different year.
It was such a success, that the North Pole Elf-mail Services requested that the city consider making it a permanent part of the holiday season. The Geneva Chamber and HDC were happy to help and serve as local elves bringing some Christmas cheer.
Delivering Magic and Nostalgia through Design
In 2021, the space is back with a new “old” look. The log cabin facade may remind many adults of their own childhood, and that was by design. Its exterior features mahogany stained log siding (available at Menards) trimmed with green accents while the interior (lumber generously donated by Hines Supply) has a “worn wood” look with rustic metal and wood decorations.
“The exterior was designed to look a bit like the classic toy, Lincoln Logs®”, says Katie Newcome, HDC’s Marketing Manager and the lead designer on the project. “Christmas is so connected to our pasts and to our own childhoods. When we were thinking of the design, we wanted to remain true to Santa’s Village - knowing that the resources close to the North Pole are definitely more natural and rugged - as well as stir up memories from Christmases past.”
The project took months of planning. One challenge the team faced was how they could construct something that could be relatively easy to put up and take down on unlevel, shifting ground year upon year while being a sound enough structure to provide safety and shelter for visitors.
John Vendafreddo, Senior Project Manager, took the design and worked with Lead Carpenter, Mike Gerbitz, to create a modular plan that could fit the bill. “The office is constructed of modular panels. This allowed us to construct the space in our workshop and transport it to its holiday plot. A series of large posts are driven into the ground and the panels are then secured to them to make for a stable structure.”
This was not as easy as it sounds. Mike Gerbitz and his field crew, Matthew Douglas and Joe Bartley, had to troubleshoot in anticipation of the move and while on location. In order to make the build go smoothly and efficiently, Mike developed a template to be used to ensure the posts were spaced exactly where they needed to be and that panels would go together relatively quickly, without gaps, and levels.
“The team really took the time to think through all the potential obstacles we could face during the build, anticipating challenges helped the field team remain flexible during construction. We approached the temporary post office as we would any permanent build we might take on. Knowing that the entire community was going to be able to experience the space made it even more important and special to get right.” Katie explains.
“We are truly happy with the way it turned out and love seeing all the families participating in this special holiday stop unique to Geneva.” reflects Brian Hogan, Chief Visionary and founder of Hogan Design & Construction.
When and How to Visit the Post Office
The Post Office is open to visitors 24/7 through the first week in January. It’s located at 100 South 3rd Street, Geneva, IL (also the home of CASA Kane County) on the courthouse lawn.
Little ones are encouraged to write their notes to Jolly Old Saint Nick and include their return address. If they do, Santa will write them back! But, be sure to get those letters in by the 19th of December. After that, it’s crunch time at the North Pole and the letters will only have time to be read but not responded to for Christmas.
And note: each exterior side of the building offers a photo opportunity for visitors too. You are encouraged to tag the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Hogan Design and Construction when posting to social media! Pose yourselves (or your children) by the naughty and nice signs located on either side of the building or sit under the post office sign in the Adirondack chairs found in the back. Of course, no one should neglect to capture a picture of their little ones mailing their letter to Santa either.
Hogan Design and Construction is a premier remodeling company located in the western suburbs of Chicago that services the Chicagoland area as well as southeastern Wisconsin. Facing construction or in need of renovations? Visit them on the web at hdcbuild.com or call them to set up a consultation at 630.991.8700