Sunday, October 9, 2011

Updates on Old Favorites

New readers might not know that it's my mission to photograph [and get postmarks from] as many U.S. post offices as humanly possible, for historic and archival purposes. Why? Originally, it was a way of documenting my cross-country travels and served a gift for my postmark-collecting father. Now it's because five years (... months?) from now, so many of these places won't be around. Post offices will disappear and so too will so many of these towns. Unfortunately, top-level USPS keeps trying to make my life easier by stripping away all the small, rural, and interesting offices with actual character -- the ones most reflective (and most necessary to the survival) of their communities.

(Why Donahoe is looking to destroy his organization is still beyond me. Have you ever heard the phrase "death by a thousand cuts"? Think 3.7 thousand cuts, and plenty more where those came from.)

This journal was started back in Sept. 2010, with a few entries from my favorite parts of the country: Hawaii, Manhattan, and Wyoming. Let's see where we stand on some old favorites now.

Big Island, Small Office -- Nīnole and ‘Ō‘ōkala, Hawai'i.
Both locations are open three or fewer hours a day, so why aren't they on the RAOI study list? Because they're actually CPOs -- Community Post Offices [a type of CPU], formerly Rural Branches, which means the towns once had an independent post office, but they're now run under contract. These locations are exempt from RAOI, though CPOs have been generally disappearing at a high rate.

Remember: CPOs, a concept around for decades, while not as preferable as an independent Post Office, are a thousand times better than the Village Post Office sham. At least CPOs offer near-full services! They even have things like, gee, scales to actually weigh stuff on!

Some really photogenic CPOs: Fire Island, NY.

'Appraising' An Obscure Office in Manhattan -- New York, NY: Appraisers' Store Station
One of the oddest post offices you'll ever see, three blocks south of Rockefeller Center in the fourth floor of a generally secure building, Appraisers owes its existence to the diamond jewelers downstairs. This post office accepts only Registered Mail, sometimes insured via private insurance into the multi-million-dollar range. There's a reason USPS made this post office, and it's so jewelers wouldn't have to wait in line at Rockefeller Center, or leave their bullion lying around in an APC. This facility has already had its public meeting, but anyone who would like to defend its existence still can; contact information at that link.

As Rural as it Sounds -- Recluse and northeastern Wyoming
You'll be disappointed to know that three out of the four post offices shown in this entry -- Recluse, Leiter, and Arvada, are all on RAOI. I might make another Wyoming entry soon.

A Tale of Two Antlers -- Antler[s], Saskatchewan and North Dakota
Antler, ND is on the RAOI Hit List.

On the Hit List: Long Island Processing Plants
Figured this could use a jump back to the front page, since there's been a great influx of visitors from postal news sites! And yes, lawyers, I was on public streets, so this is all perfectly legal. If you doubt this, look at Google Street View.

It's Only Lodge-ical -- Post offices in ski lodges in MA and PA.
Skytop and Pocono Manor, PA are on the RAOI Hit List, and I suspect both will be gone shortly. Hancock, MA is a CPO and is thus not part of the study.

Not Just NE-Where -- stories from a slice of Nebraska
Of course, the one with the most character, Nehawka [click on thumbnail 3], is on the RAOI chopping block.

Hope you new readers enjoy the site!

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