Postal Facts and Tidbits

By: 
SARAH BRACHA
PTF Clerk

 

Post office buildings have long been thought of as unofficial community centers. They are usually a great source of local information.  For many of us sending a letter or picking up the day’s mail remains the best opportunity to chat, catch up on the local news, or take our morning break.

There was a time when most post offices were not stand-alone structures, but part of multi-use facilities. In the late 18th century, postmasters received, sorted, and distributed mail from taverns, coffeehouses, print shops, and even old churches. As the 19th century progressed, post offices slowly became single-use buildings and often the architectural centerpieces of villages, towns and cities. The buildings themselves are varied. Some are tall, distinguished buildings in the middle of busy cities, while others are built to look “official” and government-like so as to blend in with other government buildings in the community.  

The USPS operates more than 35,000 post offices across the nation. Here is a look at some unique locations:

Ochopee, Florida, has the smallest post office. At about 62 square feet, the office has been housed in a former tool shed since 1953. I am so glad I do not work in such a post office! I would get claustrophobic. 

The largest post office can be found – where else? – in New York City. The James A. Farley Post Office has 46,000 square feet of retail space.

Alma, Colorado, has the highest post office. The office is more than 10,500 feet above sea level, higher than any other USPS facility. 

The Death Valley, California, post office is a triple threat. The building sits 282 feet below sea level, making it the nation’s lowest post office. It also ranks as the hottest and driest.

Alaska has the coldest post offices. The Barrow and Wainwright offices are on the state’s northern slope. 

The wettest post office is in Kapaa, Hawaii. The office is near Mt. Waialeale, one of the rainiest spots on Earth.

Hinsdale, New Hampshire, has the oldest original post office building. The office has operated in the building since 1816.

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