Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Postal Summary

Well, that lap around the sun went by quickly. Welcome to my 13th annual summary of the post offices and places I've visited. This was another comparatively light year: 424 new post offices spanning eight states, for a total of 10,984 post offices. This year I also revisited several dozen post offices for updated postmarks and photographs.

Two sizable trips accounted for all the new territory explored this year: one in March lasting 14 days in Texas, flying into and out of San Antonio, whereupon I put 4,140 miles on a rental car while visiting 250 post offices; and a week-and-a-half-long July jaunt through eastern Appalachia and the Carolinas, which yielded 174 new post offices. I had been hoping to break the 11,000-post office barrier during that trip, though I caught Covid for the first time and had to cut the trip short.

As always, my use of the term post offices for these purposes should be taken broadly: it includes carrier-only facilities, freestanding mail processing facilities, and Contract Postal Units (CPUs).

With the explorations in Texas I have now visited every post office between San Antonio and El Paso, thus completing the western panhandle. I used this paper map for trip-planning, with highlights to show the area I've now covered.

Highlighted paper map of Texas showing post offices

Scenes from 2022 postal explorations:

Dell City, Texas, one of the most isolated post offices in the country (in terms of distance from neighboring post offices), in the western panhandle:
Dell City, Texas post office

Columbia, South Carolina's Crossroads Center CPU, with operator Hugh; my second visit to an amazing operation that deserves its own write-up:
Hugh, at Crossroads Center Contract Postal Unit; Columbia, South Carolina

Georgetown, Texas. Lobby of the City Post restaurant, a former Depression-era post office that's home to some incredible dining:
City Post restaurant lobby, Georgetown, Texas

Fort Lee, NJ's New Deal post office—in the process of being unceremoniously dismantled thanks to the Borough's mayor—in front of its replacement, which officially opened on September 16 after more than a year of delays; taken December 29: Fort Lee, NJ: old and new post offices, Dec. 2022

2022 by the Numbers

I visited as many as 34 post offices in one day this year, in Texas. State by state—and territory by territory:

Texas: 235 post offices
Focus/Foci: All of San Antonio metro area, and toward the west, including Hill Country and all post offices toward and along the Rio Grande, north of Laredo, and to the southeastern corner of New Mexico; Belton to Houston and back to San Antonio.

Virginia: 75 post offices
Western Virginia, along and west of I-81 into the mountains; Blacksburg and Christiansburg area.

North Carolina: 47 post offices
Boone and southwest, in the mountains

South Carolina: 27 post offices
North of Columbia

New Mexico: 15 post offices
Southeastern New Mexico; Carlsbad

Pennsylvania: 12 post offices
Southeast of I-81, near Maryland border

West Virginia: 8 post offices
Near Peterstown

Maryland: 5 post offices
South/west of Frederick

Counting Counties:
I visited 65 new counties in 2022, mostly in Texas. Here is my current Counting Counties map, with a darker green showing my most recent travels:

Thanks for reading. I have so many stories, and I always mean to sit down and write. Life just gets busy though, don't it?

Friday, November 25, 2022

The 2023 Calendar of Post Offices and Places

Hello, everybody! Despite my lack of posting it has been a decent year for post office visits thus far, with a couple of sizable trips and some great stories. And, more importantly, the seventh annual Postlandia calendar is charging full steam ahead, with 12 all-new photogenic and interesting post offices and stories from all over the map.

The direct link to order online is here.

2023 Postlandia Calendar Cover:
Langtry, Texas post office photo
(There's another image of this post office, and information about it, inside.)

As always, the calendar's selection of post offices is broad and varied in multiple respects: geographically, by size, by age—you name it! Which big-city post office was built off the preserved front of an old dairy? Where can you find the "Mail Bear," who guards your postcards as you deposit them into a tree stump? What does the second oldest [continuously active] post office building in America look like today? Which 1930s post office was robbed by thieves who broke into its safe using an acetylene torch? All this, and more, in the 2023 Postlandia Calendar of Post Offices and Places.

All calendars are printed on demand using the website Lulu. I've been using them for years and they've never disappointed. The images are full-size and they look amazing. The paper is super high quality; you can write whatever you want using a Sharpie and nothing will bleed through. You get all sorts of postal trivia tidbits to accompany all the usual holidays you'll find on a normal calendar. Basically, you will love it. Here are a handful of (small, compressed) sneak-preview images to whet your appetite if you're not already convinced:

Head for the Hills (of North Carolina):
Penland, North Carolina post office photo

Post Office in Paradise:
Paradise, Washington post office photo

A Polar-izing Post Office:
North Pole, New York post office photo

Proceeds from the calendar go to supporting more trips, hundreds more post office visits, hundreds more images to post in the Post Mark Collectors Club (PMCC)'s Online Post Office Photo Archive, and more stories (which I always hope to eventually get back to posting here). Driving 4,150 miles to visit 250 post offices in Texas and New Mexico takes quite a bit in gas money! (Especially this year. Oy.) For the first time in years the price of the calendar has increased, but I guarantee it's still worth every penny. Don't forget to use your discounts, and thank you all for your support.

Again, the link to order the 2023 Postlandia calendar directly from our publisher, Lulu, is here. Sincerely,
Evan (Postlandia)

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Postal Summary

It's hard to believe that this is my 12th annual summary of the post offices and places I've visited. Dang, I've been at this a while! According to my spreadsheets this year I visited 363 new post offices across five states, for a total of 10,558 post offices. I also visited four P.O.s across the border in New Brunswick, Canada (not included in the above tally). This year I also revisited many more places for updated postmarks and photographs, meaning I actually visited 469 post offices in all (including that handful in Canada).

When traveling this autumn I stuck to the heavily vaccinated Northeast. The bulk of my travels consisted of two week-long trips to New England in October and a week-and-a-half Maine excursion earlier this month. This meant I visited a whopping 203 post offices in Maine—nearly half the post offices in the entire state and the most in any state during a given year since I documented 212 in New York back in 2017.

As always, my use of the term post offices for these purposes should be taken broadly: it includes carrier-only facilities, freestanding mail processing facilities, and Contract Postal Units (CPUs).

I was thrilled to get to visit several of the further reaches in Maine, including Eustis, Jackman, Vanceboro, and Lubec, while making significant inroads with the post offices on Maine's only-accessible-by-ferry islands, of which I visited six this year (for a personal total of nine thus far). These trips can eat up a lot of time and the logistics can be daunting, though as you've seen from some of my previous posts (such as this one from last month) the results can be rather rewarding.

Scenes from 2021 postal explorations:

Visiting the post office in Vinalhaven, Maine (only accessible by ferry) in October:

Helen, a former postal employee, serving a customer on October 15—the last day of operation of the Georgia, Vermont Community Post Office (a Contract Postal Unit):

Albany, NY—the new site of the Academy Station post office under construction, prior to opening:

Part of the [modern, not New Deal] mural behind the retail counter of the Hallowell, Maine post office:

Saint Stephen, New Brunswick—Retail Post Office (RPO) at Jean Coutu, a Canadian chain of drugstores:

2021 by the Numbers

I visited as many as 30 post offices (of which 29 were new) in one day this year. State by state—and territory by territory:

Maine: 203 post offices
Focus/Foci: All over the state, but let's say there was a particular focus on the Downeast & Acadia region

Vermont: 70 post offices
Rutland and areas south; Northwest Vermont

New York: 62 post offices
Albany, with routes to the southwest and north

New Hampshire: 22 post offices
Corridor between Lebanon and Manchester, with a slew of revisits around Lake Winnipewaukee

Massachusetts: 5 post offices

Delaware: 1 post office

* Harbeson was suspended when I first completed my run of Delaware post offices, as its former site was being redeveloped. I have now re-completed the First State with the visit to Harbeson's new site:

Harbeson, DE post office

Counting Counties:
I visited a handful of new counties in 2021, including Schoharie and Fulton Counties in upstate New York and my remaining four counties in Maine: Franklin, Piscataquis, Hancock, and Washington.

See you next year! I appreciate all your views, shares, and support.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The 2022 Calendar of Post Offices and Places

[Note: Direct purchase link: here.]

Well! I cannot believe this year is almost over. Postally speaking it hasn't been incredibly productive, though I still have plenty of stories to share. It has been tough to feel motivated since I've been unable to travel and experience many places first-hand; BUT, I have gotten a couple of posts out lately and I do hope that productivity continues. And perhaps most importantly, of course, there's the sixth annual Postlandia Calendar of Post Offices and Places!

Every month of the calendar features a photo and caption of a photogenic and/or historically significant post office. The P.O.s featured come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and—I kid you not—colors. It can take quite a bit of research (particularly old newspaper articles) to get to the bottom of some of their stories!

This year's calendar [← direct link to order] takes us from Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest, New England, California, and many places in between. We've got a post office surrounded with wagon wheels; a pink castle; and one of my absolute favorite post offices, in Pennsylvania (see below). We also visit what's known as the smallest post office in America: Ochopee, Florida, and I'll show it to you in a way you probably haven't seen it before.

Writing this as I usually do right around/during Thanksgiving, please allow me to publicly appreciate everyone who supports this crazy little endeavor of mine by purchasing a calendar. It both motivates to keep going and literally helps me keep going in the form of gas money! I might drive 2,000 miles over the course of a week as I visit 150 post offices on the road. It adds up!

2022 Postlandia Calendar Cover: Greenville, PA post office

I first wrote about Greenville eleven years ago, but have revisited the post office both physically (for better photos) and in terms of research. I even mentioned it on NPR back in 2011 as perhaps my favorite post office of all! I absolutely love this building and I hope you will too. More 2022 calendar highlights include:

California: The Castle

South Carolina: Take it for Granite

New York: Something Blue

In addition to (U.S.) holiday designations the calendar features notes about interesting dates in U.S. postal history. I've gotten feedback from several people saying they find that detail really cool.

Everyone I know who's gotten the Postlandia calendar in the past has enjoyed it. It's a fantastic gift for philatelists, people who love exploring off the beaten path, and current or former U.S. Postal Service employees! I've been using the printer Lulu for a long time and they always churn out consistent, high-quality calendars. The paper is thick, the colors come out great, the images are nice and high-resolution (far higher than I post online), and it easily holds up to writing in pen or Sharpie.

(For the sake of reference, here are the links to 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 calendar write-ups.)

One fun thing I like to do, when sending out orders from family or friends, is wallpaper the heck out of the envelope with loads of cool old stamps. You can find a handful of examples here, here, and here (← definitely worth the look)!

Again, here is the link to ordering the calendar online. Thank you everybody for reading, liking posts, commenting, sharing, and for your support. Here's hoping to a happy and healthful 2022! —Evan

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Number of Post Offices by State (2021)

Which state has the most post offices, and how many post offices are there? In early 2017 Postlandia answered these questions, and now Postlandia shall do so again!

Here is a ranking of U.S. states and territories by the number of active U.S. Post Offices by state (and territory) as of October 2021. Facilities include all USPS retail facilities: independent post offices (including APOs, RMPOs, and PTPOs), classified [USPS-staffed] stations and branches, and the handful of Post Office Express locations. Excluded are carrier-only facilities, specialized mail processing facilities, Contract Postal Units (CPUs) and Community Post Offices (CPOs), and Village Post Offices (VPOs).

Postlandia obtained a complete list of active postal facilities via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The list included 30,986 entries total, 548 of which were identified either by USPS or the author as carrier-only facilities. In 2017 we identified 30,606 U.S. Post Offices; presently there are 30,438. This count is not definitive: there are liable to be modest discrepancies depending on, for example, how temporarily suspended operations are accounted for. In fact, several states registered (modest) increases in the number of post offices when it comes to these counts; however, no new post offices have opened in the U.S. in several years.

Total: 30,438 post offices

Rank State
# P.O.s
1 NY New York 1820
2 PA Pennsylvania 1782
3 TX Texas 1650
4 CA California 1621
5 IL Illinois 1300
6 OH Ohio 1115
7 MO Michigan 890
MI Missouri 890
9 VA Virginia 880
10 IA Iowa 827
11 NC North Carolina 826
12 MN Minnesota 779
13 FL Florida 749
14 WI Wisconsin 741
15 IN Indiana 716
16 GA Georgia 705
17 NJ New Jersey 687
18 KY Kentucky 673
19 WV West Virginia 653
20 AR Arkansas 614
21 KS Kansas 584
22 AL Alabama 580
TN Tennessee 580
24 OK Oklahoma 579
25 MA Massachusetts 578
26 WA Washington 516
27 LA Louisiana 502
28 NE Nebraska 478
29 MD Maryland 450
30 CO Colorado 434
31 ME Maine 421
32 MS Mississippi 419
33 SC South Carolina 400
34 OR Oregon 361
35 MT Montana 314
36 NM New Mexico 312
SD South Dakota 312
38 CT Connecticut 301
39 ND North Dakota 292
40 AZ Arizona 266
41 VT Vermont 264
42 ID Idaho 234
43 NH New Hampshire 231
44 AK Alaska 205
45 UT Utah 196
46 WY Wyoming  140
47 NV Nevada 130
48 HI Hawaii 105
49 RI Rhode Island 79
50 DE Delaware 62

PR Puerto Rico 116

DC District of Columbia 50

VI Virgin Islands 12

GU Guam 6

FM Federated States
of Micronesia

MH Marshall Islands 3

MP Northern Mariana Islands 2

AS American Samoa 1

PW Palau 1

Hope you enjoyed, and check back soon for more entries. Thanks, everyone!