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Mexico

17 February 2020

Postal Palace

Mexico: Postal Palace, 17 February 2020. Images from Servicios Postal Mexicanos.

Name: Postal Palace
Price: $ 65.00 Pesos $ 3.39 USD
Issue Date: 02/17/2020
Paper: Matt white couché, a rubberized face of 110 gms./m2
Designer: Vivek Luis Martínez Avín
Theme: Architecture, Plastic Arts, Education, Institutions
Description: Postal Palace On the corner of the Axis Central and Tacuba streets, once considered the zero point of Mexico City, one of the most emblematic historical buildings is erected for its aesthetic and architectural richness, the Fifth Post Office, better known as Postal Palace. In the weekly Mundo Illustrado, dated February 24, 1907, you can read: “The opening of the new Post Office is an event of great significance for our country; the mere fact of building a building of such magnitude proves that Mexico is entering the civilization course more and more actively ”. The Postal Palace, in a sample of eclecticism, combines different stylistic currents such as Gothic, Plateresque, Art Nouveau, and Mudejar among others. All very well executed by Adamo Boari and Gonzalo Garita. Within all the ornamentation that is displayed in this building, there are elements that cannot go unnoticed. The watch. Located in the coupe bread tower, it was imported and assembled by “Jewelry the Pearl” of the Dienner brothers and Company. On the outside you can see only the dial, but inside you can see all the machinery made up of a six-bell chime, weighing 700 kg, which flows into a time frame framed by an 8 mm thick glass cover and two meters in diameter. It is a complex machinery that mixes gear and hydraulic transmissions with air brake systems, pulleys, counterweights and cables. In the year of 1905, a brief description mentioned the following for its elaboration and assembly: “The glass will be used on the cover; the hours and minutes numbers will be of gilded brass sheet; the hands will also be gilded brass; The cornice that serves as a frame to the cover will also be gilded brass. The gilding of the metal parts will be done by electrochemical procedures giving the gold layer a thickness that is not less than one hundredth of a millimeter ”(sic). Lampadarios or lampholders. With a style that recalls the house of dragons in Valencia, Spain. The east, west and north facades of the Postal Palace, have 15 lampadaries attached to the walls in the form of fantastic figures that resemble dragons. These figures were made in solid bronze. Apparently of Mexican foundry with Italian designs, because the record of “Baudelio Contreras Fundición Artística e Industrial Mexicana” was found in the fastening bases, however it has been thought that they could also be manufactured in Florence by Pigonet. In addition to the decorative function, they are intended to provide lighting. Each one inside has an electrical connection that carries current to lamps protected by glass bottles. Therefore, the Mexican Postal Service, proud of this property and what it represents as cultural heritage, issues a postal stamp that reflects part of the iconographic wealth of the property.


From Wikipedia:

Correos de México

Correos de México (formerly Servicio Postal Mexicano (Sepomex)) is the national postal service of Mexico.

Founded: 1580; 439 years ago
Headquarters: Palacio de Correos de Mexico
Website: www.correosdemexico.com.mx

History

On February 17, 1907, President Porfirio Díaz founded the “Palacio Postal” (Postal Palace) also known as the “Quinta Casa de Correos” (Fifth Postal House).

But Mexico has had a postal service since 1580. The office’s main job was to communicate the vice royalty of New Spain with the metropolis, Spain.

In 1921, Sepomex was in need of an international regulatory and unified postal service, and the Mexican government participated in the formation of the “Unión Panamericana de Correos” (Panamerican Postal Union) in Buenos Aires. In 1931, Spain joined the union, which changed the name to “Unión Postal de las Américas y España” (American and Spain Postal Union.) In 1990, Portugal was added to the union, which again changed the name to “Unión Postal de las Américas, España y Portugal” (American, Spain and Portugal Postal Union).

In 1933, by presidential order, the Postal service took control of the telegraph service in Mexico, creating the office “Dirección General de Correos y Telegrafos” (Executive Director of Postal Service and Telegraphs).

In 1942, the President ordered the separation of the postal service and telegraph into two entities.

Reorganization

In 1986, the government gave autonomy to the Postal Service. This was in response to the need to improve the service, which was considered one of the worst in the world and was now facing competition from private companies.

In order to compete with the private postal services like DHL, UPS, FedEx, Multipack, Estafeta and others the postal service created a new entity, “Mexpost,” but more expensive than normal postal service but also more efficient working as a private company but still being part of the Mexican Postal Service.

Recent History

In 2008, President Felipe Calderón ordered the overhaul of Servicio Postal Mexicano and rebranded it as Correos de México. Along with a new name and new image, the agency was restructured helping to streamline operations, improve performance, and expand postal outlets to non-traditional locations like private businesses.

Palacio de Correos de México

The Palacio de Correos de México (Postal Palace of Mexico City) also known as the “Correo Mayor” (Main Post Office) is located in the historic center of Mexico City, on the Eje Central (Lazaro Cardenas) near the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It was built in 1907, when the Post Office here became a separate government entity. Its design and construction was the most modern of the time, including a very eclectic style mixing several different traditions mainly Neo-Plateresque into a very complex design. In the 1950s, the building was modified in a way that caused stress and damage, so when the 1985 earthquake struck Mexico City, this building was heavily damaged. In the 1990s, restoration work has brought the building back to original construction and appearance.

View of the Palacio de Correos in Mexico City from the NW. Photo taken on 19 July 2015 by Thomas Ledl.
History

In 1901, the Dirección General de Correos (General Direction of Mail) was made a separate government agency. Before, it has been an administrative division of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation. It was then decided that this function should have its own building, in part due the volume of mail being handled annually at that time, which was about 130 million pieces. The Italian architect Adamo Boari was chosen for the project. The design is eclectic, yet Boari’s design pulls the various styles used together. The military engineer Gonzalo Garita y Frontera supervised the construction. The site chosen was the old Hospital of Terceros Franciscanos, which was demolished in 1902. The foundation laid was a new technique called “Chicago” consisting of a concrete slab with a thickness of 70 cm reinforced with steel beams. This foundation was mostly constructed in New York, by the Millinken Brothers and shipped to Mexico in 1903. The first stone of the building was placed on 14 September 1902, and work on the building lasted for another five years. In 1907, the building was inaugurated by then president of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz, who, in a symbolic act, dropped two postcards into the receiving bin, one addressed to a location in Mexico City, and one addressed to a different locale in the country. For some time after it was built, this palace was also called the Quinta Casa de Correos (Fifth House of Mail), since it was the fifth building to house postal services in Mexico City.

The building has remained in continuous operation as a post office since 1907. However, in the 1950s, the growing economy forced the Bank of Mexico next door to occupy a large section of the Palacio de Correos, for this reason, two bridges were built to connect the Palacio with the Bank of Mexico building. Modifications for the Bank destroyed much of the decoration elements that were originally in this section. They also added greatly to the weight of the building and have overloaded the steel structure. This would cause damage to the building, along with the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

Lateral stairs at Palacio Postal, México. Photo taken on 16 October 2013 by Diego Delso.
Description

Its architectural style is highly eclectic, with the building being classed as Art Nouveau, Spanish Renaissance Revival, Plateresque, Spanish Rococo style, Elizabethan Gothic, Elizabethan Plateresque and Venetian Gothic Revival and/or a mixture of each. The building also has Moorish, Neoclassical, Baroque and Art Deco elements. There is also a mix of materials and design elements from Europe and Mexico. The palace contains ornaments of marble, plaster of paris and white “cantera” stone from Puebla.

The building has a steel frame and a foundation build on an enormous grid of steel beams, which has allowed it to withstand a number of earthquakes and has avoided the subsidence problem that plagues many buildings here.

The post office is made with a very light-colored, almost translucent variety of a stone called “chiluca.” The exterior is covered in decorative details such as iron dragon light fixtures and intricately carved stone around the windows and the edge of the roof. Much of the metal work around the windows and other parts of the façade highly polished brass, which was made in Italy. An example of the building’s complicated design is that each of the floors has windows of a different architectural style. The facade’s unity is kept through the repetition of arches. The main entrance has a large ironwork canopy which is typical of the Art Nouveau that was fashionable in the early 20th century. The gallery on the fourth floor consists of slender Solomonic columns and a filigree cresting that surrounds the entire building.

Inside, the marble floors and shelves combine with bronze and iron window frames manufactured in Florence, Italy. The main stairway is characterized by two separate ramps that come together to form a landing. They also seem to cross on the second landing above, after which each move off in their own direction. The meeting room contains frescos by Bartolomé Gallotti painted over a base of 24 carat gold, with themes relating to the history of written communication and the sending of messages.

Frontal view of the central stairs at Palacio Postal, México. Photo taken on 16 October 2013 by Diego Delso.

 

Restoration

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the Bank of Mexico located next door on Madero Street, occupied a large section of the Palacio. The Bank made extensive modifications to its portion of the building, such as security walls, roofing the open-air terraces and the like that added a great deal of weight and stress to the steel-beam building. This in and of itself caused damage to the building, but when the 1985 earthquake struck Mexico City, this damage was made far worse. The earthquake also severely damaged or destroy a number of buildings nearby, so when city reconstruction efforts began, the Bank decided to move out of the Palacio and build new structures nearby to house their extra offices. The building was declared an Artistic Monument on 4 May 1987, due to its beauty and history, and restoration efforts were begun in the 1990s. These efforts were significantly helped by the large number of graphic representations of the structure as it originally appeared and other documents kept by the National Archives. They were also able to locate the architect’s daughter in Italy, who donated her father’s plans and notes from the project. These can now be seen at the National Museum of Architecture, in the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Restoration began with the structure of the building, repairing and reinforcing the columns and steel beams damaged by the earthquake. Next came the removal of the weight added to the building by the projects done by the Bank of Mexico, restoring the floors to their original weight and construction design. Last done, was the reconstruction of the interiors that had been greatly modified and with most of the original decorative elements destroyed. For this aspect of the work, Boari’s plans and notes proved invaluable.[4] The restoration project also allowed for the technological upgrading of services.

Two service windows upon entering the Palacio de Correos from the main entrance. Photo taken on 27 August 2008 by Thelmadatter.
Interior view of the glass ceiling of the courtyard of the Postal Palace, Mexico City. Photo taken on 16 October 2013 by Diego Delso.
Stairs at Palacio Postal, México. Photo taken on 16 October 2013 by Diego Delso,
Naval History Museum

The Naval Historical Museum was located until 2013 on the fourth floor of the Palace, occupying a space of 1,346 m². The collection included models, photographs, maps and other items from the different eras of navigation in Mexico. The museum is divided into six areas, labeled A through F each relating to a particular era or aspect of Mexico maritime history. Section A is dedicated to the origins of navigation both in the Old and New Worlds up to the first maps of the New World. Section B deals with maritime events of New Spain. Section C deals with the time period after Mexico gained her Independence in 1821 until the beginning of the 20th century. Section D covers the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, including the battle between the “Tampico” and the “Guerrero” as well as the United States occupation of Veracruz. Section E is entitled “Modern Mexico” and covers the decades between 1920 and 1970, which includes Mexico’s part in World War II. The last section, F, is titled “Contemporary Mexico” from 1970 to 2004, which focuses on the Mexican Navy’s latest acquisitions as well as future projects.

Paintings are mostly portraits such as those of Pedro Sainz de Baranda y Borreyro, Blas Godínez Brito, José Sebastián Holzinger, Lieutenant José Azueta Abad, Cadete Virgilio and Uribe Roble and of historical events such as the defense of the Fort of San Juan de Ulúa during the French Intervention in Mexico, the bombing of the Port of Veracruz in 1846, the lake battle of the Spanish Conquest of Tenochtitlan, the naval battle between the “Tampico” and the “Guerrero”, and the sinking of the “Potrero del Llano.”

View of the floor of the Naval History Museum in Mexico City. Photo taken on 19 September 2009 by AlejandroLinarGarcia.

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