Saturday, January 6, 2024

2023 Postal Summary

Whoops! It's not the first time a year-end postal summary has come out a little late. Alas.

When you've been at this a long time it can become difficult to encounter low-lying postal fruit. Why, I finished visiting most if not all of the post offices [near me] in New York City, Long Island, north Jersey, and Connecticut a decade ago. Getting to new post offices requires effort; sometimes days of it! This year I was able to visit 418 new post offices spanning eight states, for a total of 11,401 post offices. I also revisited several dozen post offices for updated postmarks and photographs, notably in Hawaii and Massachusetts.

My 11,000th post office was Cape May, New Jersey.

Evan Kalish at Cape May, NJ post office

Two trips accounted for most of the postal exploration this year: a ten-day trip based out of Kansas City (MO/KS/NE), wherein I visited 201 new post offices, and a ten-day, 1,913-mile trip based out of Dallas-Fort Worth (TX/OK), which resulted in 159 new post offices visited.

The term post office for the purposes of this post should be interpreted broadly: it includes carrier-only facilities, freestanding mail processing facilities, and Contract Postal Units (CPUs). However, it does not include some other sites that I nonetheless documented, such as: the Fairlawn Detached Lockbox Unit, former Westboro Station (in operation from 1951 to 1968), and Material Distribution Center—and that's just Topeka, Kansas!

Former Westboro Station, Topeka, Kansas:
Old Westboro post office, Topeka, Kansas, taken 2023

Scenes from 2023 postal explorations:

Hawi, Hawaii: This post office relocated next door since I last visited it in 2010
Hawi, Hawaii post office, 2023

Wichita Falls, Texas main post office [interior]:
Interior, Wichita Falls, Texas main post office

Marietta, Oklahoma: "Chicksaw Indian Family Making Pah Sho Fah," a New Deal mural by Solomon McCombs
Marietta, Oklahoma post office mural

Liberty, MO: Hy-Vee #1384 CPU Liberty, MO: Hy-Vee #1384 CPU

2022 by the Numbers

I visited as many as 38 post offices (33 of which were new to me) in one day this year, in northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska. State by state—and territory by territory:

Kansas: 109 post offices
Focus/Foci: Northeast Kansas: Kansas City and suburbs through Topeka

Texas: 105 post offices
Wichita Falls; Dallas and suburbs, out to Tyler

Oklahoma: 54 post offices
Southern Oklahoma: Ardmore through Lawton

Nebraska: 48 post offices
Southeast Nebraska; Lincoln

New Jersey: 31 post offices
Southern N.J., including Cape May County

Hawaii: 26 post offices
56 total visits (just 26 new): the Big Island of Hawai'i, Kauai (all), Pearl Harbor

Massachusetts: 1 post office
14 total visits (Cape Ann), one new operation: Beverly Delivery Distribution Center

Counting Counties:
I visited 47 new counties in 2023, spanning the areas above.

Counting Counties map, Evan Kalish, 2023

Thank you for your continued support! Have a wonderful 2024.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The 2024 Calendar of Post Offices and Places

I've been visiting and documenting post offices for 15 years now. This means I'm a bit older than I used to be. Yet, it also means I still have ridiculous amounts of fun exploring various corners of the country and collecting stories along the way. I don't really share those stories on the blog anymore, but it's not to say these stories aren't worth sharing. These years I've just dedicated my time to distilling these experiences into a dozen really great photographs and captions. So now, without further ado, I present the eighth(!) annual Postlandia Calendar of Post Offices and Places.

The direct link to order the calendar is here.

2024 Postlandia Calendar Cover:
2024 Postlandia calendar cover

This year's calendar takes us from Hawaii to New England, features post offices large and small, presents some gorgeous Deco façades and details, and shares the history behind several [gorgeous] former post office sites. The photos, as always, are high-resolution (unlike the compressed versions I post here).

I spent weeks researching the stories, searching and reviewing old newspapers, checking historical society websites and National Register nomination forms, and even calling one P.O. to make sure the captions were accurate. It's hard work but it's super rewarding. Furthermore, as of this edition the Postlandia calendar has featured at least one post office from each of the 50 states! (Not to mention Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.) I might have made a color-coded map to keep track of all the featured post offices.

... I definitely made a map.

Hi, Hawaii!
Image in 2024 Postlandia calendar

Every calendar is printed to order. My publisher of choice is Lulu. They've proven reliable for as long as I've been making these calendars, and you should find that the printing and paper quality are top-notch. You can write on them with pen, Sharpie, whatever, and the pages hold up just fine.

In addition to the holidays you'll find on other calendars, you'll find historic tidbits and postal trivia. It's good stuff. It's even better for the loyal mail carrier or snail mail enthusiast in your life.

Nashvillage Square:
Image in 2024 Postlandia calendar

Sales of these calendars help support my ridiculous post office exploration endeavors, which included a 206-post office, two-week trip across three states in June and a 162-post office trip in September. Did I mention the 56 post offices I photographed this spring in Hawaii? Proceeds also support the time I continue to dedicate expanding the Post Mark Collectors Club (PMCC)'s Online Post Office Photo Collection, the freely available reference that recently surpassed 33,000 post office photos!

New England, old post office:
Image in 2024 Postlandia calendar

Again, the link to order the 2024 Postlandia calendar directly from our publisher, Lulu, is here.

Thanks for checking this all out. I hope you give the calendar a shot if it's your first time encountering it, or, that you'll enjoy this year's edition if you're purchased other ones in the past.

Wishing you all a great and fulfilling holiday season!

Evan (Postlandia)

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 [no longer available].

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.

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.