Wednesday, December 7, 2011
End of the Line: Vaucluse, SC
[Photo credit: Wikipedia: Vaucluse, South Carolina. See first photo at right. USPS has changed the sign above the door since then.]
Note: This is the first post office about which I'm writing to which I have not actually been! I thought I should get in an entry this week to celebrate the completion of one of my final assignments.
To my knowledge the town of Vaucluse, South Carolina, population 89, never hurt anybody. Especially since the town itself is an inanimate object. But I get the impression that the folks who actually live down there never did, either! Unfortunately, its post office, despite its rather favorable rent of $10 a month, was still too painful for USPS's coffers to bear, and it will soon be shuttered.
[Okay, so there is the Postmaster's salary as well; although that cost is mitigated by the fact that USPS has not even assigned a full-time Postmaster to Vaucluse since mid-2009; there have been rotating Officers-in-Charge. According to USPS's Postmaster Finder, Carol S. Ringley and Wallace Watkins had been trading off the duty for two years, though Randy L. Heise was put in charge of the office on November 23.]
The office, originally scheduled to close December 3, got a "stay of execution" by Postal Headquarters in what is supposed to be a national moratorium on all closings nationwide from November 19 until January 2. The office is now slated to close at the end of December.
The post office has served the community since 1878.
Vaucluse is located off I-20, 20 miles northeast of Augusta, GA and an hour's drive from South Carolina's capital, Columbia.
See the full story, with video!, here:
WJBF [out of August, GA]: Vaucluse Residents Upset their Post Office Is Closing. Great photo/videography.
Here's the official lease information for the Vaucluse Post Office, courtesy USPS's Leased Facilities Report.
Postal District: South Georgia
Facility name: Vaucluse Main Office
Address: 42 Senn St., Vaucluse, SC 29850-9998
Lease in operation since: 1/1/1966
Annual rent: $120.00
There is no official end date for the lease; it's just been renewed continuously since 1966.
Fortunately, USPS has allowed residents to have their own mailboxes, as opposed to shoving everybody into a cluster box far from their homes.
As for what the residents will now have to do to obtain postal services: the nearest post office is 3.7 miles away in Graniteville, SC. However, mail will be delivered from the Aiken, SC post office, a post office 6.6 miles -- and a 15-minute drive -- from Vaucluse.