Congressman Urges Colleagues to Rename Post Office After Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix performs with The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Monterey Pop Festival in California on June 18, 1967. (Bruce Fleming/AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Purple haze may cloak a U.S. Post Office southeast of Seattle if the House passes new legislation to name the location after a local music legend.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today introduced a bill to rename the post office at 4301 NE 4th Street in Renton, Wash., the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office. The great electric guitarist, who passed away in 1970 at age 27, is buried a few blocks away at Greenwood Memorial Park. He also grew up in a home on the same street.

“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 in a statement today. “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,” the congressman added. “This designation will further honor this iconic artist and his Seattle roots.”

Bills to rename post offices usually get shuffled through Congress without fanfare, sometimes passing on a voice vote instead of roll call. Per custom, all of the other members of the Washington state delegation are on board with the Hendrix bill.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed a bill from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) designating a Bakersfield, Calif., mail center the Merle Haggard Post Office Building. This week, he signed a bill from Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) naming a post office across the street from the University of Southern California after Marvin Gaye.

In 2016, several Republican congressman voted against a bill — which overwhelmingly passed — to name a North Carolina post office after author Maya Angelou.

According to the USPS, some post office locations don’t have records to indicate how they received their initial name, but oftentimes they were named after the first postmaster there. Further orders from the postmaster general in the late 19th century steered post office names to ones that were short and reflected the name of the town.

The process of renaming post offices in honor of individuals began in 1967.