Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nice Touch: Fort Worth, Texas

Last summer outgoing mail processing operations were consolidated from the Jack D. Watson Post Office building -- also known as the Fort Worth Main Post Office and Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) -- to the North Texas P&DC in nearby Coppell (about 18 miles northwest of downtown Dallas).

Here's a photo of the Fort Worth facility:
Fort Worth Main Post Office / P&DC

Actually, USPS's plan for originating mail in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex resembled a game of musical chairs among the three P&DCs it had in the area: Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas. Here's USPS's explanation from a news release posted last February:

... the Postal Service has made the decision to move all incoming mail processing operations from the Dallas Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) to the Fort Worth Processing and Distribution Center. Once the transfer is complete, the mail processing operation of the Dallas P&DC will cease.

All outgoing, or originating mail-processing operations now handled at the Fort Worth P&DC will be moved to the North Texas P&DC; however, the Fort Worth P&DC will continue to process mail destined for delivery in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The Fort Worth P&DC will handle destinating, or incoming mail for 3-digit ZIP code areas 760, 761 and 764, as well as 751, 752 and 753, mail previously handled at the Dallas P&DC. In addition to 750 and 754 mail, the North Texas P&DC will now handle incoming mail for 762 and 763 ZIP areas currently processed at the Fort Worth P&DC.
Outgoing / originating mail is that which you've placed in a mailbox; it's mail that has been entered into the mailstream. Destinating mail is that which has been processed and is nearing delivery.

Quote this fine article by Fort Worth's Star-Telegram: "The plant is not shutting down; it is part of an operational plan to shift outgoing mail to Coppell," Bolen said. "If you mail a letter, it will go to Coppell, and if it's local, it will come back to Fort Worth, where it will be sorted and processed."

Here's the front entrance for the building, leading to the retail area:
Fort Worth Main Post Office / P&DC

Now, what about that Dallas mail, which was slated to be shipped to Fort Worth to replace the Fort Worth mail that got shifted to North Texas instead? Dallas mail processing presently remains in Dallas -- a victory, one advocate for the cancellation of the proposed change says, in "a fight for first-tier mail services in North Texas." (Read more here.) So, when originating Fort Worth mail processing operations were moved to North Texas, there was no Dallas mail to take its place. So, August 10, 2012 was the last day of the Fort Worth, TX mail-processing postmark.

So here's where the nice touch comes in. As revealed in the pictorial postmarks announcement in the Aug. 9, 2012 Postal Bulletin, the Postal Service created a pictorial cancellation in honor of the last day of cancelling operations at the Fort Worth P&DC. That has not happened since I started collecting cancellations from around the country. Since I was in the area at the time, I decided to check it out for myself!

I handed over a couple of stamped items to be cancelled with the device. The staff was also nice enough to also give me an item handed out to Fort Worth plant employees that afternoon: a stamped #10 envelope postmarked with the same cancel. It might not be everything, but it's still a class act. Here's a close-up:

Fort Worth last-day of cancellation pictorial cancel

As postmarks go, this was crystal-clear and impeccably applied. The postmark design itself is beautiful, and resembles [at least the northern half of] the Jack Watson building. (Perhaps the building before some additions?) If you compare to the two photos I've provided and the satellite image below, you can definitely see the resemblance.

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