In the late 19th century, cotton was the mainstay of Hillsboro's economy. The MKT railroad came to the town in 1881, and between 1885 and 1891, the population nearly doubled from 1,800 to 3,500. The once sleepy agricultural town was changed to a regional trade center and a tremendous building boom followed.
By 1912, the population had almost doubled again, to over 6,000, and construction began on a fifth post office building for Hillsboro. Gould Alley was widened and renamed to Gould Street because the federal government objected to locating such a prominent structure on an alley.
|Post Office Postcard|
The 12,000 square foot one story brick building, with a tile roof, has a full basement and a mezzanine [more]. There is a molded decorative cornice [more]. The front façade faces east and has five arches that emphasize the recessed entrances and windows, all of which repeat the arched pattern. Elaborate terra cotta and carved stone trim contrast with the tan brick.
It is a magnificent structure designed as an adaptation of the Foundling Hospital for Children [more] in Florence, Italy, which was executed in 1419 by the Italian architect, sculptor, and painter Brunelleschi. The Foundling Hospital for Children is considered one of the first buildings of the High Renaissance.
Few towns the size of Hillsboro are blessed with such a classically styled building with such an attractive interior and exterior. During the time when the building was constructed, the Renaissance Revival style was quite popular. It was frequently used on federal buildings, and several post offices in Texas are similar in style, i.e. Temple, Plainview and Huntsville.
Until the 1960’s, Hillsboro’s public library was primarily run by volunteers and supported by contributions. Bond's Alley Arts and Crafts Fair was started in 1965 to help fund the library, and three years later, the City of Hillsboro acquired the "old post office" building. After substantial renovation and support from the city, it was opened as a public library in 1971.