Instead of driving cross-country, as I have historically done every four years, I took a handful of flights to regions of the country I wanted to explore further. These included two weeks in the high west: Albuquerque, northern New Mexico and southern Colorado; a week in Alaska (with postal layover in Seattle); a week in the Salt Lake City area / eastern Utah and western Colorado; and a week and a half in the southeast: South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Furthermore, Postlandia friend Kelvin and I explored the northern reaches of Maine and got some great photographs and stories along the way.
This summer I finally visited several post offices accessible only by ferry: Fishers Island, NY; Prudence Island, RI; and the Sophie C Mail Boat in New Hampshire. In Alaska I visited a handful of post offices only accessible by boat or by plane! But that's another post (coming soon!).
Perhaps most significantly this blog got an overdue "re-branding". No more Going Postal; hello, Postlandia! The idea came from the title of a story published a couple of years back. We've also got a great new calendar for you as well.
As always, this year's visits included "standard" post offices, Contract Postal Units (CPUs), and carrier-only and mail processing facilities, not to mention former sites of relocated and discontinued facilities. For example:
Bangor, ME: Broadway Hardware CPU
Portsmouth, NH Processing and Distribution Facility (P&DF)
Alamosa, CO: former post office
Columbia, SC Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC)
But postal journeys weren't all the excitement for Postlandia 2016. Devin Leonard published his great book: Neither Snow Nor Rain [link: NPR story], which tells the story of the Post Office Department (now Postal Service) through the lens of many of the distinctive people and lives who made the institution what it is today. Yours truly is featured in the prologue and epilogue of the book! Devin was gracious enough to invite me to speak at a talk he gave at the New York Public Library this summer.
That's me being highly amused by someone's question.
This followed a presentation at the once-a-decade World Stamp Show at the Javits Center in New York, wherein I got to discuss some of the interesting post offices and places of the Big Apple. And postmarks!
2016 by the NumbersI visited as many as 34 post offices in one day. State by state, counting only new, distinct active postal locations (including CPUs) for the year:
New York: 115 post offices
Focus/Foci: Modest upstate travels: Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Delaware County; west of Syracuse
New Mexico: 108 post offices
Northern New Mexico; Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and numerous Native reservations in NW NM
Northern, southeastern CT; Norwich
Far north, and eastern Maine; Bangor
Southern, western Colorado; Grand Junction, Durango, Pueblo
Augusta through Macon, to Thomasville
Wasatch Valley: Salt Lake City, Provo; and eastern Utah: Vernal
South Carolina: 50
Columbia area; and south toward Charleston and west toward Augusta, GA
Tallahassee and Orlando areas
Anchorage, Wasilla, and the Kenai Peninsula
North-central, rural PA
East of Springfield and east of Worcester
New Jersey: 23
Northern NJ, near NY border
Rhode Island: 22
Northwest, southern RI
New Hampshire: 11
Southeast N.H.; U.S. Sophie C., Lake Winnipesaukee
Teec Nos Posclosest post office to the Four Corners
MilestonesI achieved post office #7,000, as well as post office #1,000 in just the state of Pennsylvania, during the same afternoon this summer (actually, just a couple of post offices apart). Actually, I've now visited at least 100 post offices in each of 22 states. This year added New Mexico, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Georgia to that roster. Connecticut now reaches the top five, with 321 different active locations visited.
Me at post office #7,000: Crosby, PA
Me at Pennsylvania post office #1,000: Hazel Hurst, PA
Counting Counties (and States)I've now visited all 50 states, as well as more than 1,000 counties across the U.S. This map shows the most recent extent of my travels (2016 travels in light pink). There's always so much more to see!
Hope to write more for you soon!