A year after Ismay’s post office was destroyed by a late night fire, it is being reborn like a phoenix out of what was once a smoldering pile of debris in the small community.
A mild winter has helped the reconstruction along, said Gene Nemitz. “We have got a building started. It is enclosed and probably half done. It is framed. The contractor has got the windows and doors now – but he hasn’t got them installed yet.”
“He is far enough along that it is pretty much enclosed so even if the weather gets bad he’ll be alright,” Nemitz said.
According to a representative of the United States Postal Service, it is working with the landlord and looking forward to the completion of the new Ismay facility.
“Until postal operations can be fully restored, we ask our customers to continue utilizing the temporary neighborhood cluster boxes located in the Ismay community center. We thank our customers for their patience during this process,” explained USPS spokesman Floyd Wagoner .
Since the fire, the residents had to briefly get their mail at the Plevna Post Office, approximately 20 miles away.
However, the community was also able to make arrangements to use the Joe Montana Community Center for temporary postal facilities.
At a meeting Jan. 20 in the community center, the mayor and town officials approved the plans which could allow partial postal service to return to the community about a month after its local post office burned to the ground.
The owners of the building, Gene and Rita Nemitz, announced plans to rebuild the building, but said that rebuilding the building would have to wait for warmer weather in the spring at the earliest. It had to wait a little longer, starting the rebuilding last fall.
“The investigation is done. It has been ruled an accident,” Rita Nemitz said almost a year ago. “We are working on it to rebuild. It is a slow process.” Part of the wait was tied to insurance and getting current requirements to meet current USPS specifications, she explained.
The building, which burned down in the early morning hours of Jan. 4, had been the post office for the community since the 1940s.
The post office in the old building rented slightly more than 700 square feet, about half the size of the building, Rita Nemitz said. The building had a varied history in Ismay over the years, she added, noting that it could have been an old cafe and an implement store over the years.
When the building is rebuilt, the post office portion will probably be a little larger, but not by much, she added.
Ismay is located approximately six miles east of Highway 12 off Ismay Road. As of 2018, the community had a population of 20.