Site History

by Buddy Dossett, Historian

To check the economic slide which began with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, now known as the Great Depression, in 1930 President Hoover proposed a massive federal public works program. The theory was that federal projects, including the construction of post offices and federal courthouses, would stimulate production and make jobs for the unemployed.

In order to induce Congress to build a post office in San Benito, the City of San Benito offered to donate the land for the building.

Sam Robertson's House

On November 6, 1930, while Congress debated the public works bill, the City executed a deed conveying a rectangular tract of land out of the Southeast corner of Block 40, Third Addition, "said tract of land fronting 155 feet on Sam Houston Avenue or Boulevard and 205 feet on Hicks Street" to the United States of America for the erection of a post office. The City of San Benito had acquired Block 40 in 1923.

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When Sam A. Robertson, whose home was situated in the block immediately North of Block 40 (at Sam Houston and Adele), learned that the new post office would be built in Block 40, he "...protested to the officers of the United States Government responsible for the erection of the post office in San Benito...on the ground that same would be in violation of certain building restrictions..." Ironically, Robertson had been the first postmaster of San Benito; an engineer, Robertson also prepared the plat of the Third Addition for his employer, the San Benito Land and Water Company. Through deed restrictions, the blocks North of Hicks Street were restricted to residential use. Accordingly, Robertson had planned for Block 40 to be a buffer between his home and the business district. Robertson's opinion, would "...prevent further encroachment of business property..."

On March 4, 1931, Congress approved the "Second Deficiency Act, Fiscal Year 1931, "which authorized a variety of projects, including the construction of a post office in San Benito at the estimated cost of $125,000. The building was officially opened on April 15, 1933. The street address is 417 North Sam Houston.