Effort underway to rename post office after Jimi Hendrix
All eight Washington representatives in Congress are supporting legislation that will rename a Northwest post office in honor one of the region’s most prolific musicians — Jimi Hendrix.
Rep. Adam Smith introduced a bill that proposes the post office at 4301 NE 4th Street in Renton be named “James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office Building.” The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for review.
If successful, this unassuming mail center amid a cluster of strip malls, fast food joints, and apartments will become the hippest, most rockin’ post office in the United States. This particular office is not far from the graveyard where Jimi Hendrix is buried.
“Renaming the Renton Highlands Post Office the ‘Jimi Hendrix Post Office Building’ is one more way we can celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest musicians of our time and the importance of the south Seattle and Renton areas in his enduring legacy,” Smith said. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls Hendrix, ‘the most gifted instrumentalist of all time, a self-taught electric guitarist whose fluid, immersive style was perfectly suited to embrace – and then revolutionize – the late ’60s psychedelic rock movement.’ The Puget Sound Region is home to a museum that showcases Hendrix’s life and work, a park dedicated to his memory, and several memorials visited by thousands every year. This designation will further honor this iconic artist and his Seattle roots.”
Smith’s office notes that in order to rename such a federal facility, support from the entire Washington delegation (all eight Congress members) is required. The Congress member’s office did look at post office locations in Seattle, closer to Hendrix’s childhood neighborhood, but those locations are leased and not owned by the United States Postal Service. USPS recommends against naming leased offices.
Jimi Hendrix around Seattle
Before he became a rock n’ roll icon, Jimi Hendrix hailed from Seattle’s Central District and attended Garfield High School for a time. In recent years, his childhood home became a victim of the growing region. It was moved from its original location at 2603 South Washington Street to various other locations, eventually settling in Renton, across the street from the graveyard where the musician is buried. But development followed and the home was torn down.
Hendrix left Seattle in the early ’60s to join the Army for a brief time. After that he embraced his musical talents, eventually finding himself performing with the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. But his status as a musical innovator and entertainer exploded when he moved to London in the 1960s. Most music fans mostly know this Jimi Hendrix — flaming guitars and psychedelic fashion.
When he died in 1970, Jimi was brought home to his family in the Seattle area and buried in Renton’s Greenwood Memorial Park Cemetery.
If Smith’s bill is approved, the Renton post office will be added to a list of Jimi Hendrix sites that have sprung up throughout the region since his death, including a memorial at his grave site, a statue on Capitol Hill, and a recently opened park in Seattle’s Central District.
While it is currently a Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle’s MoPOP was originally dedicated in 2000 as the Experience Music Project, aka EMP, after Jimi Hendrix’s music. The building was designed to appear like the smashed parts of a Fender Stratocaster, the guitar Jimi Hendrix played.
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