Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Actually Colorful Post Office

It's been a while. But I thought I'd enlighten you with a post office that is actually colorful. Presenting Hawi, Hawai'i:

External view of the Hawi post office; Kohala region of the Big Island

Saturday, September 18, 2010

As rural as it sounds

I was the second customer of the day at the Recluse, Wyoming post office.

Time: 2:00 P.M.

The circuitous route from Gillette to Sheridan had been paying off in wonderful scenery and non-inhabitation. This was the first of a few tiny towns along the way. Here's a map of the area (with which you can fiddle to your heart's content!):

View Larger Map

At a distance of 22.5 miles Arvada, population 33, is the closest town. (Though Gillette, a city of 20,000, lies just 36 miles to the south.) Recluse? Well, see for yourself!

The community bulletin board.
The post office and the school serve ranchers for miles around, of course. The Wyoming Tourism website even reports that the town was so named due to "the distances between area ranches and the post office"!

I visited several obscure, though friendly, offices that day. The tiniest was Leiter, Wyoming -- the 'town' essentially consisted of one long building at a crossroads, and the post office is only open from 8 to noon. I had to mail back for its postmark later.

Here are the post offices of three more towns I visited that afternoon:
Arvada, Wyoming. Another relatively new building.

Photos from September 2008.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Colorful" Post Offices

Alas, the title's a pun -- only one of these offices is in Brooklyn.

Nearly all collectors have a specialty. Some baseball card collectors only go for rookie cards; maybe some video game addict collects various Pac-Man machines. Some postmark collectors collect "thematically" -- cancels from towns whose names contain, say, their own name (Like my visiting here); types of waterways (like Lake Milton, OH and Riverside, AL); trees (Glen Oaks, NY and Maple Valley, WA); or colors. Presenting a few random shots of the "spectral" variety:
The author by a sign for the Redcrest, CA post office. Middle of redwood country; 2008.

Of course there's also Orange, NJ and White Plains, NY. Can we round out the rest of the spectrum? Say Silver City, NV; Blue Hill, NE; Golden, CO; Black Earth, WI; and Brown U. Station, Providence, RI.

There are dozens for the major colors -- consider Green Bay, Greensboro and Greenville -- so let's try to be more subtle. Though maybe not as subtle as Olive Hill, TN. There's got to be a sweet spot. Are there any post offices out there with Violet or Purple in it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Island, Small Office

Why "Hilo" there!

Hawai'i might not be a U.S. state today if not for its sugar industry. By the late 1800s, sugar plantation owners had gained enough influence over the islands' economy that they helped to overthrow the royal family of the islands (who lived in the stately 'Iolani Palace), in favor of annexation to the U.S. It was just that much easier to secure a market for their products this way! How much product? As recently as 1960, Hawai'ian sugar brought in a[n inflation-adjusted] billion dollars to the local economy per year. Production peaked at over a million tons a year.

The Big Island's northeast coast was a hotbed of plantations, and even featured a sugar train that ran down to Hilo. There is much less activity along that shore now, but one nugget lies in the town of Nīnole: the state's smallest post office!

Front view of the Nīnole post office. Notice the community board! (That's my backpack on the porch.)

In the second photograph you can see the PO boxes for the residents of the town, as there's no delivery in Nīnole. Note something you'd never see on the mainland -- the lobbies is open-air! Meaning you don't have to go inside to pick up your mail when you get home and the office is closed. Many offices in Hawai'i, even in Honolulu, have open-air box (and a couple, even retail) sections. I suppose that's what you get when the temperature rarely dips below 70.

Here's the largest office on the island: Hilo's; 17 miles down the road.

Photos taken March 2010.

What's in a name

Since mid-2008 I've visited 1,250 post offices, in the quest for postmarks to collect and document the location and date of my travels across the country. More information about the hobby can be found at I thought it would be nice to share some of the more interesting and obscure places I've experienced! All photos and text are my own; all rights reserved.