USPS district manager Darrell Stoke, Janie Hendrix and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) unveil the plaque honorarily naming the Renton Highlands Post Office as the “James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office” on Friday, April 19. Photo by Haley Ausbun

USPS district manager Darrell Stoke, Janie Hendrix and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) unveil the plaque honorarily naming the Renton Highlands Post Office as the “James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office” on Friday, April 19. Photo by Haley Ausbun

Highlands Post Office honors Jimi Hendrix

Postal Service connected Hendrix to family during his Army service.

Before Jimi Hendrix became Jimi Hendrix, the legendary rock artist, he was tested as a teenager.

Law authorities had twice caught him riding in stolen cars before he turned 19. Given a choice between jail or military service, he chose the latter and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961.

Hendrix wrote letters home to his father and family during his military days. Today, those letters and postcards are fondly kept by Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s stepsister, who has ownership rights to much of the late musician’s memorabilia. The letters and postcards, she said, were among the most precious possessions belonging to Jimi’s father, Al Hendrix.

“I believe that were Jimi here today, he would thank the (U.S.) Postal Service, not only for this honor, but for keeping him connected to his family all those years ago,” Janie Hendrix said.

That connection between the Hendrix family and the Postal Service was publicly recognized last Friday, when dignitaries gathered to honorably rename the post office in the Renton Highlands, at 4301 NE 4th St., the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office, at a dedication ceremony.

A plaque honoring Jimi Hendrix will be placed in the lobby. The office will retain the Renton Highlands Post Office name, with the Hendrix designation coming as an honorary measure, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Darrell Stoke, Postal Service district manager, said Renton was only the fourth post office in the state to receive an honorary name since the program began in 1967. He also mentioned the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Forever stamp that was released in 2014.

The honorary naming was possible, thanks to legislation sponsored by U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, D-WA, who spoke at the event. He thanked post office workers and spoke about how diversity is making the region a better place to live.

“It is incredibly important that in South King County we respect and embrace the diversity of our region,” Smith said. “The Ninth Congressional District has over 160 different world languages spoken.”

Renton City Councilmember Ryan McIrvin said the honor is significant for Renton, Jimi Hendrix’s final resting place. Hendrix’s grave and memorial can be found at Greenwood Cemetery, about a mile from the post office. Thousands of people visit his memorial each year. The iconic guitarist died back in 1970 at the age of 27.

McIrvin spoke about Renton’s diversity and how the post office, tucked near a historically black neighborhood, makes it a fitting place to honor Hendrix and the area’s history. Renton was recently named the third most diverse city in the country.

McIrvin joked about trying to learn how to play Hendrix’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” for the dedication ceremony, until, he said, he remembered he can’t play guitar.

At the ceremony, Chief Andy de los Angeles, of the Snoqualmie Tribe, delivered the invocation. Smith and Janie Hendrix unveiled the plaque.

“Today we celebrate another esteemed acknowledgement,” Janie Hendrix said, “and dedicate the post office in his honor.”

The plaque honoring Hendrix legacy at the Renton Highlands Post Office will be on display in the lobby. Photo by Haley Ausbun

The plaque honoring Hendrix legacy at the Renton Highlands Post Office will be on display in the lobby. Photo by Haley Ausbun

More in Northwest

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn sent a letter to the FBI asking for them to help investigate Allan Thomas (pictured), who is under investigation for stealing more than $400,000 of public funds and skirting election laws in an Enumclaw drainage district. Screenshot from King 5 report
King County Council requests report on special districts in wake of fraud allegations

Small, local special districts will face more scrutiny following Enumclaw drainage district case.

The Marquee on Meeker Apartments, 2030 W. Meeker St. in Kent, will feature 492 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail. The first phase of 288 apartments is expected to be completed in early 2020. Developers are targeting people in their 20s and 30s to rent their high-end, urban-style apartments. Steve Hunter/staff photo
Housing study pokes holes in conventional wisdom

High construction and land costs will incentivize developers to build luxury units.

I’ll miss Doug Baldwin the player, but I’ll miss the man more

I witnessed ‘Contemplative Doug,’ not ‘Angry Doug,’ in my time covering the Seahawks.

File photo
Eviction reform passed by state Legislature

Tenant protections included longer notices and more judicial discretion.

Homelessness may be trending down after seven years

A press release from the annual count showed a reduction in people living without a home.

King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County airport operators will stop serving ICE flights

Three companies at Boeing Field have indicated they will not service deportation flights.

Cherry blossoms bloom in April at the Washington State Capitol. Photo by Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Legislature adjourns on time with new budget, more money for education

Total spending is $52.4 billion; includes levy lid lift for school districts and some tax increases.

Architectural rendering of a modular congregate shelter. Modular housing is a type of dwelling where the components are manufactured in one location, then assembled at another location. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov.
Modular housing in King County moves ahead

Small, portable housing units are being explored by the county to address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee shakes hands with Dinah Griffey after signing Senate Bill 5649 on April 19. The law revises the statute of limitations for sex crimes. Photo by Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Hits and misses from Legislature’s 2019 session

New laws target vaccines, sex crimes and daylight savings; losers include sex ed and dwarf tossing bills.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to protesting nurses on April 24 at the State Capitol Building in Olympia. Inslee indicated he would sign the bill for meal and rest breaks into law if it passes both chambers. Photo by Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Lawmakers approve ‘nursing bill’ for mandatory meal and rest breaks

Nurses show up in Olympia to support bill, protest Sen. Walsh’s remarks.

Colton Harris-Moore, known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” as seen on a GoFundMe page where he sought to raise $125,000 for flight training. (GoFundMe)
‘Barefoot Bandit’ asks judge to shorten his supervised release

Colton Harris-Moore says travel restrictions are holding back a lucrative public-speaking career.

USPS district manager Darrell Stoke, Janie Hendrix and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) unveil the plaque honorarily naming the Renton Highlands Post Office as the “James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office” on Friday, April 19. Photo by Haley Ausbun
Highlands Post Office honors Jimi Hendrix

Postal Service connected Hendrix to family during his Army service.