Sunday, February 26, 2012

Postal Bucket List: Hawaii Edition

On this blog I've shared with you some wonderful and unique experiences I've had during my postal adventures around the country. By now I've visited nearly 10% of all USPS facilities: independent post offices, branches and stations, CPUs, annexes, and processing plants; but there is still plenty more to go. What follows is a list of offices to which I've not been, but which, by my understanding, are either in such bizarre locations or otherwise so unique that a visit to them has to be made. So, without further ado, I present to you:

Evan's Postal Bucket List (Part I):
1. Kalaupapa, Hawaii -- the post office of the leper colony

(Photo from

The beautiful and tranquil setting, in a valley along the northern rim of the oft-overlooked island of Molokai, belies a fascinating history. Established in the 1860s, Kalaupapa is the site of what was effectively an island prison: lepers were banished here in accordance with mandatory isolation by Hawaiian King Kamehameha V, and the facility housed as many as 1,200. This held for a century: until 1969, ten years after Hawai'i's becoming a U.S. state, the policy of isolation was still in effect. The site has since become a National Historical Park operated by the National Park Service.

Today, there are still about 14 former sufferers of Hansen's disease living on the site. By law they are allowed to remain there, and it is probable the location will cease once the population dwindles to 0. The post office serves only that population, as access to the site is highly restricted. Access to the valley is granted only to those who take specific tours:

State law requires all individuals to secure a permit to enter from the State Department of Health prior to visiting Kalaupapa. Damien Tours arranges for permits for individuals booking with them. Persons that do not prearrange their visit to the park with Damien Tours (808) 567-6171 will be denied access to the park. []

Last summer, USPS announced the study for closure of the Kalaupapa post office. By December it was determined that the office couldn't be closed, despite the small population served. Even former sufferers of leprosy have the right to universal postal service, too!

My friend, a fellow member of the PMCC, took a tour to the site last January, and notes that while it's possible to photograph the office, access to get a postmark in person is frequently denied so as to prevent interactions of tourists with the town's residents, who have been scarred by leprosy in the past. In this instance tour operators will take philatelic materials to be hand-cancelled at a later date.

This website tells a story of visiting the Kalaupapa P.O. (as well as the actual town) and meeting Ellen, Postmaster Relief, shown below:

2. Hoolehua, Hawaii -- home of the Post-A-Nut service
It's not every post office that gets its own review page on TripAdvisor. Clearly, this place is cool.

(Photo courtesy TripAdvisor.)

The island of Molokai also houses the small town of Hoolehua, the story of which I first read in my Let's Go: Hawaii travel book. The premise is that you can actually mail a coconut, free of packaging, so long as you have a postage/address label affixed to one side.

First, let me validate that yes, you need no packaging (so long as the coconut is not being shipped internationally). Heck, here's a company that lets you order them, slaps a shipping label on them, and puts them in the mail. Coconuts are considered so resilient, and otherwise tamper-proof, that USPS and the Postal Inspection Service will indeed allow a coconut to be mailed free of external packaging. The cost ranged from perhaps $8 to $12, depending on its size.

Now that's cool in and of itself, but the Hoolehua Post Office takes it one step further: they provide the coconuts for shipping themselves. They even have permanent markers that you can write the recipient's address on. Definitely a must-visit.

Here's a photo of some coconuts ripe for the sending at the Hoolehua P.O. (Source)

The guy's got lots of photos of the process on his Flickr page.

3. Post Offices of the Pacific Islands -- way beyond Hawaii
USPS not only administers the mail for Guam and American Samoa, but also for other 'commonwealths in political union with the United States' (the Northern Mariana Islands) and other countries closely associated with the U.S. (the Marshall Islands). They are U.S. Post Offices!

One will note that the Northern Mariana Islands appeared, along with Guam, Puerto Rico, etc., on the Flags of Our Nation stamps (image by USPS):

My lovely friend and her husband, a Marine stationed on Okinawa, took a trip to Guam and took these photo for us:

Of course, you can read about all the post offices of Hawai'i and other Pacific Islands in the PMCC Directory! I 'adopted', and was responsible for editing, the Hawai'i list this time around.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mail Processing Plant Photos and Observations, Part II

First, there are a few observations that I find interesting with regard to the Area Mail Processing consolidations:
1. Chicago could be left without its own postmark if the Cardiss Collins P&DC downtown loses its originating mail to suburban plants. Ditto Fort Worth, whose P&DC would be responsible for destinating mail to Dallas while losing originating mail to the North Texas P&DC. Not to mention New Orleans, which loses everything out to Baton Rouge.

2. The amount of mail crossing state and postal District borders to be processed would now be astronomical: some Connecticut Valley mail would be processed in the Westchester District; there's Baltimore District mail headed to Central Pennsylvania; Nevada-Sierra processing occurring in Salt Lake; northeast Texas mail handled in Louisiana while the mail processing equivalent of musical chairs occurs among the Dallas and Fort Worth Districts. In fact, New York's Triboro District might be the first left without any originating mail processing facility if all its mail gets postmarked in New York's Morgan P&DC.

3. Given the dissolution of mail processing boundaries by state and District lines, what do the AMP consolidations mean for the postal hierarchy, and who's responsible for resolving consumer affairs and other issues as they pertain to mail handling?

4. Building on the above, would Virginia residents really be pleased with a postmark from North Carolina; Texas residents with a postmark from Shreveport; Tennessee residents with a postmark from Atlanta; Savannah residents with a cancel from either SC, GA, or FL? Et cetera.

5. What about security issues? What if, say, dangerous pieces of mail couldn't be sourced locally since mail processed at a given plant could have originated from any of 500 post offices across three states as opposed to a localized cluster?

So, let's look at some photos of scheduled-to-close P&DC/Fs that are a part of their hosts' respective main post offices. Will these locations be moving to smaller, predominantly retail sites now, or be used as "delivery hubs"?

Salem, Oregon P&DF

> Originating and destinating mail to be consolidated into the Portland, OR P&DC.

When I was visiting the MPO I met the philatelic clerk, who was very friendly and offered to get the Postmaster's autograph on a couple of the cards I got hand-cancelled. She mailed them back to me later that week. As far as location, note the continuation of a trend that you might have noticed the emergence in my previous entry, of on the map below -- namely, the proximity of the processing plant to the local predominant highway. The present mail processing system wasn't created without thought.

White River Junction, VT P&DC

> Originating and destinating mail to be consolidated into the Manchester, NH and Burlington, VT P&DCs.

Ah, White River Junction. This facility has easy access to two Interstates and has been around since 1984. The MPO also moved out here from a beautiful downtown WPA office that became known as Lyman Station. Officially closed last summer, Lyman Station had been a box unit with no retail services for some time. The current location, among a (Vermont-sized) sea of car dealers, exhibits decidedly less grandeur.

[discontinued:] White River Junction, VT: Lyman Station post office

On the plus side, the study to consolidate the decidedly large Manchester, NH P&DC (which shares residence with the Manchester MPO) was disapproved.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Pre-moriam: Processing Plant Photos, et al

Pre.S. There's a Part II to this entry, which includes observations and questions regarding consolidation plans.

Well, it seems nothing can stop USPS management now: the list of 223 processing plant consolidations is out. That said, and with the presumption that this process will be extremely difficult to stop, I present to you photographs of some of the plants that are slated to close. I started photographing P&DC/Fs about a year ago. I've been to perhaps 20 all in all, but will be presenting just a few here. More can follow.

Note: Anyone who would like to submit photos of their own plant [exterior] is more than welcome to; I'm happy to make more posts or put together a full gallery in the future. If you have any memorable stories or funny anecdotes about your processing plant, also feel free to pass that along. I'll archive it.

Also: Definitions might be in order, since I've noticed some folks found my site by searching for the meaning to some terminology. Originating mail is that which has been deposited by the mailer and which is entering the mailstream. It generally needs to be cancelled, coded, and routed to other processing centers for delivery. This is the P: Processing in P&DC. Destinating mail (the D: Distribution in P&DC) is that which is has been processed, brought to its final sorting site, and which is getting ready to be delivered.

Southern Connecticut P&DC; Wallingford, CT

> Originating and destinating mail to be consolidated into the Hartford, CT P&DC.

USPS has owned 24 Research Parkway in Wallingford off I-91, a town halfway between New Haven and Hartford, since 1995. The P&DC measures about 400 feet by 800 feet and handles mail for the 063 and 064 ZIP code prefixes. Mail postmarked here receives "SOUTHERN CT 064" spray cancels. I've been unable to validate whether it maintains a hand-cancel / dating device with its name on it.

Stamford P&DC; Stamford, CT

To be consolidated into the Westchester, NY P&DC (both originating and destinating mail).

Driving home from Rhode Island one summer Saturday I followed a convoy of mail trucks taking exit 6 on I-95 and soon discovered the Stamford P&DC. I popped into the parking lot at 7, asked if anyone knew about any potential hand-cancels inside, and a sorter volunteered to help me get my cards postmarked with a Stamford P&DC round dater while I waited outside. How nice is that? I hope his commute doesn't get too difficult with the move to Westchester.

The Stamford P&DC is located on an industrial/commercial strip southwest of downtown Stamford and has easy access to I-95. It measures about 350 by 400 feet, and USPS has owned the site since 1988. This facility handles the mail for southwestern Connecticut post offices.

Altoona P&DF; Duncansville, PA

> To be consolidated into the Johnstown, PA P&DF (both originating and destinating mail).

A relatively recent plant, USPS has been at this site since 1998. The facility sits back off a nondescript road near I-99 south of Altoona. The area otherwise resembles sprawl. It doesn't look too big from the front, though satellite imagery shows that the building measures about 250 by 500 feet.

Updates from previous entries
Easton, MD P&DF: Two proposals were withdrawn: the consolidation of the Easton P&DF into Baltimore and the Wilmington, DE P&DC into Philadelphia. Instead, the current plan being studied is to consolidate Easton, MD mail into Wilmington.

Frederick, MD P&DF: Save the Post Office reports that issues abound with regard to the Frederick plant's consolidation into Baltimore. I witnessed hints of this in western Maryland right after the final transition occurred: at one PO a woman berated the clerk for her Monday's mail arriving Tuesday morning. The clerk was apologetic and noted that mail trucks which used to arrive at 7:30 from Frederick were, at least then, arriving at 11:00 from Baltimore.

Long Island Processing Plants: The Queens P&DC is being consolidated into Brooklyn. Meanwhile, "Triboro NY 112" cancels might be a thing of the past as originating mail from the Brooklyn P&DC is to be consolidated into New York's Morgan P&DC. This implies that Brooklyn would be a destinating mail-only plant, also handling that for Staten Island. The Western Nassau Mail Processing Facility will remain open, as will the New York L&DC in Bethpage.

Here are a couple of photos of the positively massive Morgan P&DC, near the New York Main Post Office on the west side of Manhattan:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Post Offices of the Firelands

While volunteering at the PMCC [Postmark] Museum in north central Ohio a year and a half ago, I took a day off to explore some of the region's POs. In doing so I was able to learn about a little facet of history known by a few. In visiting 26 towns' POs I noticed that many of the names looked very familiar: New Haven; New London; North Fairfield; Greenwich. Norwalk lies to the northwest. Each of those is a prominent town in Connecticut. Here's a map of the region of Ohio in question:

Now, I'd been meaning to write about this connection for a year, but I wanted to be able to present the perfect map that demonstrates why this is the case. In September I stopped in the library after visiting the post office in Rocky Hill, NJ, and walked right into a massive wall map depicting exactly what I was looking for:

(Don't you love it when that happens?)

The land in question is what was known as Connecticut's Western Reserve (see also: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland), a great history of which can be found on the Thompson, Ohio Township website. Connecticut lay claim to these areas through and west of Ohio as part of its 1662 charter, which, by the King of England, granted the colony "land claims to the colonies westward to the mythical 'South Sea.'"

During the Revolutionary War, the British burned many Connecticut settlements to the ground -- including Fairfield, as detailed in this article by the Fairfield Citizen -- in retaliation for local colonists' supporting American independence. "In 1792," the Thompson, OH website notes, "the Connecticut legislature granted 500,000 acres of the western portion of New Connecticut to those of her citizens whose property had been burned by the British during the war. These lands were called the 'Fire Lands.'" And that's why so many of its towns bear the same names as Connecticut cities.

So: Let's see some post offices!

New Haven, Ohio post office:

The most fun part of this stop was meeting the friendly Postmaster and getting his autograph -- which, when I first saw, made me do a double take. USPS's Postmaster Finder confirms that I did, indeed, meet James Bond: Postmaster!

North Fairfield, Ohio post office:

I'm actually not sure whether or not that is a town office in the back.

Greenwich, Ohio post office:

Very photogenic -- love the setting, the gorgeous stenciling on the window, and the bunting.

New London, Ohio post office:

A WPA post office with a wonderfully, fantastically unique mural inside. It was an ABSTRACT mural painted in 1940. Have you ever seen such a thing? has the details:
New London Facets by Lloyd R. Ney.
Oil on canvas, 5 3/4 x 14 feet, 1940.
"The abstract style employed by Pennsylvania artist Lloyd Ney for his New London mural was unique among Ohio post offices. This was apparently not the result of any inherent dislike of abstract art by Ohioans, but rather from aesthetic prejudice within the Treasury Department's fine arts section. Only with the help of leading New Londoners was the artist able to convince administrators to approve his original proposal."

The mural, which appears to be relatively recently restored, was presented on PMCC member jimmywayne's Flickr photostream. (Jimmy is another PMCC member who's been to a lot of post offices.)

And this is why visiting post offices is so enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Helping USPS Help You

When I visit post offices, I don't just take photos and collect postmarks. Well, usually I don't have the need to do anything else, aside from possibly bantering with cool folks, but occasionally there's more work to be done.

I note these changes because, in my view, providing superior customer service and best engaging and maintaining existing customers is a key to maintaining revenue and assuring the future success at USPS. Hence, I thank the Philadelphia Metro District and patient staff at the Philadelphia Post Office for listening to me and working to improve the customer experience at their locations.

It should be noted that by and large I've dealt with highly competent staff and friendly offices. The following three changes were implemented to address aberrations.

Issue 1: Long Lines
By the Law of Large Numbers, if you do something enough times you'll see everything. But recently I saw a line at a post office that was just too long. In fact, I saw it twice -- once at 1:30, and again at 4:45 when I returned to get my postmark a second time. The line was a solid 25 to 30 people long, and wait times were excruciating. The line was to the door, and then halfway back to the counter. There were two clerks operating each time, and two other stations vacant. Yet no backup was forthcoming. (Since I was also visiting every NEIGHBORING post office that day as well, I can bear witness to the fact that there were short lines and potentially a clerk to spare at a couple of neighboring offices. But really, who else would know that?) Here's a photo I snapped the second time around:

It's not the clerks' fault, a fact that I expressed to nearby agitated customers -- staff at all levels has been forced to cut back to save money.

When brought to the attention of Philadelphia Post Office management, it was agreed to that management would monitor the situation and assign a supervisor to visit the station on a more frequent basis to ensure the wait times remained acceptable.

(Current USPS national standards call for wait times of no more than five minutes, for the record.)

Issue 2: Not offering full services during business hours
The Franklin Mills Mall is huge. HUGE. 1,600,000-square-feet huge. Fortunately it has a post office! Not only that, but as a function of USPS's lease with the mall (as it is at many such locations across the country) the Franklin Mills post office must be open during all mall hours. Presently those are Mon-Sat: 10:00am-9:30pm; Sun: 11:00am-7:00pm.

For you Googlers who are trying to find the place -- it took me 25 minutes -- it's on the east side of the building, at the blue entrance. Fortunately there's a little blue-and-white Sonic Eagle logo there!

In any case, the Philadelphia postal system is quite uncommon and impressive as it has TWO USPS-operated facilities that offer customer window hours seven days a week. I think it's a mark of pride. The bizarre thing is that, for the first time I'd ever seen in then-2,500 post offices, they weren't offering full services at the time. After 1 p.m. (for a while changed to 6 p.m.) the location would not accept packages; the postmarking devices were locked up; and all they could do were sell stamps and money orders. This was true for all of Sunday as well.

(For a moment here, think like a customer who just found out there's a post office open Sunday. You rush down, you hack through the maze of the mall as you would a jungle, you find the post office... and... they tell you you have to come back Monday. Is that going to help business?)

I inquired and that's apparently just the way it had always been done. The reason is that there was no dispatch after 1 on Saturday or at all on Sunday; USPS didn't want it to appear as though the packages had been delayed. But if you want to mail a package, and it will arrive at the same time anyway, wouldn't you just want to send it and not have to return on Monday? The packages could always be stamped "Received After Final Dispatch." And what's it costing the postal service if the location must be staffed full hours, anyway?

Good news: Two weeks ago the District Manager agreed to ensure that the location offered full services during all business hours!

Here's a snippet:

I think it would be apt to use this as a demonstration of commitment to customer service -- imagine, two full-service offers, seven full days a week! Seriously, why not get the word out? I'm sure the mall would appreciate it, too. I hope that this raises awareness toward the availability of postal services at Franklin Mills and draws more customers to utilize this location at their convenience.

Issue 3: Illegible Machine Cancels
I sent the below letter to my dad. I put a nice stamp on it, but as you can see both the letter's origin and date of mailing are completely illegible.

In actuality I mailed it the last day that 44-cent stamp was valid -- which is obviously why I was sending several pieces of mail that day. (It was Jan. 21, and from Philadelphia, for the record.) In any case, that isn't good. So I brought attention to the issue and I again appreciate that the District Manager addressed the issue when it was brought to his attention:

"The situation you described was brought to the attention of [the] Senior Plant Manager ... He has directed the Maintenance Department to inspect the print heads on every machine and correct any deficiencies. This course of action will insure cancellations are legible."

Based on the envelopes I've received from around the country, this should be common practice everywhere in the country -- the issue is prevalent.

Especially given as tax season is just around the corner, I know the public appreciates the quality of good cancellations. And it's an especially relevant concern given this potential Congressional bill, which would force a company to acknowledge a mailed bill as having been paid on the day during which it was postmarked. (That legislation strikes me as a bit odd, because I thought that was federal statute anyway. Apparently some companies have been ignoring postmark dates and charging customers late fees after having held mail, unopened, for several days. Regardless, legible postmarks are important.)

Generally speaking, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Contact page is INCREDIBLY useful toward resolving any postal issues you might experience -- if, in fact, you have any that can't be resolved at local levels or if you just don't know who to contact. Just be sure to be accurate, be precise, and do be polite!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Change of Pace

Unfortunately yours truly has been too inundated with schoolwork to prepare any thorough entries of late. But, I could show you some snapshots from the archives! Here are three photos from a corner of north central Mississippi from my 2009 southern road trip. Three offices, three nice postmarks and friendly Postmasters:

Falkner, MS post office

Tiplersville, MS post office

Here, blink-and-you-miss-it was spot on; this took me two passes through town to find. Love the blue stripe encircling the building.

Walnut, MS post office

I've put up a few more photos from this trip in this entry: Southern HoPOSTALity.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reader Submissions

[Edit: Welcome, HDNet viewers! I just found out that the segment on World News aired tonight, but I haven't seen it so I have no idea how it came out or how I came across. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed it! You can review some all-time favorite entries at the left, find posts by labels (Pennsylvania, great signs, etc.) below that, or follow the Going Postal Facebook page. Also, I volunteer for the PMCC postmark museum in Ohio.]

I'm always happy to publish photos from other postal fans showing post offices from around the country -- especially if they provide stories to go along with them. I thought it was about time to publish a few submissions here!

Our first, and a gorgeous, submission is that of an office currently being studied for closure:

Silver Plume, Colorado

Located in north central Colorado along the I-70 corridor, the town was so named as a former silver mining camp. The population of the historic town was 203 as of 2000. It's a popular tourist town during the summer, with some of the activities detailed on the Colorado tourism site.

The next closest post office is about two miles away as the crow flies, though walking to it would be out of the question: you can only access the neighboring town, Georgetown, CO, by the Interstate. And if it's snowing, you would probably rather admire your town by walking.

Darwin, California:

It was brought to my attention by a regional reporter that Inyo County, California currently houses 10 post offices, but "four are in some state of closure". One of which is Darwin, and some local postal protagonists established an Occupy site in their efforts to keep their local post office open. Photos of residents in front of the post office can be found on their Facebook page. Here's a photo from said:

I love it.

Albert Lea, Minnesota

Albert Lea is located near the southern border of Minnesota:

A local postal employee notes that while the Albert Lea post office is not in danger of closure, the town takes pride in its WPA post office. There are lots of beautiful details that employees and customers admire alike: "There are carvings on the front of the building depicting the history of the postal service, including images of pony express and early air mail. The inside has a lot of beautiful woodwork and terrazzo tiles in the lobby in intricate patterns. There is also a lot of decorative plaster designs on the ceiling around the light fixtures."

I love unique and humorous stories, and I particularly enjoyed reading this one:
"Many of the original glass globes for the light fixtures were cracked or broken. About a dozen years ago the maintenance man was looking to replace them but could not find anything like them. Then he happened to go into a kitchen store in a nearby town. Here he found many salad bowls that were the same size and shape as the original glass ones he was looking for. He bought enough for each fixture, drilled holes in the bottom of the bowls, and attached them to the fixtures. People cannot tell that they are not original. There is also a beautiful stained glass window in the lobby stairwell going up to the second floor. Today the building looks the same as when it was first built."

Pool, West Virginia:
[I've got no photo! Alas.] Jeff, who has since moved to Pennsylvania, writes:

"I lived in Pool for 3 years back in the early 90's. The Post Office there was in one corner of an old farm house. It was about 9' by 12' big. Two sisters and two brothers lived at the farm and raised sheep. The farm had belonged to their parents and none of the four had ever married or left. Colorful, friendly people. They invited me into their house once to show me their Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

One of the sisters (the names escape me) was the postmaster and seemed to always be there no matter what time of day you stopped. You walked through the yard, where the sheep roamed, to get to the PO which had it's own entrance. When I first moved there I went in to get a box and the lady said "Which one do you want?" She had about 50 boxes but it seemed that no more than 20 were ever used at one time while I lived there. I picked PO Box #25 because it was easy to remember.

Interesting enough, that was the first place I ever bought the self-adhesive stamps when they were brand new. I remember the lady telling me about them when I was buying stamps and offering the choice of the old ones or the new ones. When I moved to Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) shortly after that I went to the West Chester, PA post office to buy stamps and when I asked for the self-adhesive kind they had no idea what I was talking about! They actually had them first in that little PO in Pool. Pretty cool!"

And, if you can't get enough post offices images, another website that focuses on Illinois and Iowa facilities can be found at Post Office Freak!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Second Look: From the USPS Closure Files

Save the Post Office ran an article yesterday regarding a document issued by USPS in response to a PRC inquiry that confirms what post offices were either discontinued or suspended last year. STPO has conducted an interpretation of the data, including the numbers involved. Here I just seek to establish what information you can take the bank and what just doesn't quite add up.

While I think it's in everybody's interest to know exactly what's going on with postal closures by means of data transparency, I'm also particularly interested in this information as a volunteer who helps to maintain the state-by-state Post Office Directory for the Post Mark Collectors Club -- the most accurate listings of post offices, classified units and CPUs you can get these days. I'm currently helping to revise the New Jersey listing.

The document in question is located here.

Here are my thoughts on the list:
Sheet 1, a list of offices that were discontinued last year, appears accurate.

I was too late to visit the Pennsburg, PA post office, a branch of Red Hill; here's a photograph of the former location less than a month after it closed:

The former signage is still apparent if you look closely.

Sheet 2 states what post offices were under suspension as of 1/1/12, and the results are interesting. While in many cases the information with which I'm familiar is is correct (including closure dates), I'll say take this one with a grain of salt. For example, Wilkinsburg Finance in Pittsburgh is definitely still open (as I visited it in November), so it can't have been suspended to the present day since 5/28/10. Similarly, Philadelphia's University City Station is the closest post office to my university's campus and I visit it frequently, so how it's been under suspension since 1/12/06 is beyond me.

Pittsburgh, PA: Wilkinsburg Branch post office; November 2011

Incidentally, what's with all the botched values in the top few lines of the spreadsheet is beyond me. If someone were to have the time, I'm sure it's possible to somehow associate the office name with its appropriate state and ZIP code.

Sheet 3: a list of facilities supended since Jan. 1, 2011. The first thing you might notice is that the North Palm Springs, CA is to be suspended as of 3/2/12. I was shocked to see Milltown, NJ on the list, since it's a sizable town and not adjacent to any other offices. Lo and behold, a Facebook fan told me that the office has been operating as a boxes-only mobile unit since the building was closed due to flooding, so I suspect these listings are accurate. (Similarly, I discovered a note about the suspension of the Whippany, NJ post office on the official website for Hanover Township. They have been told it's temporary.) Shickshinny, PA, an an office suspended last year due to flooding, is listed; it reopened very recently.

Some of these dates are inconsistent. For instance, in Sheet 2 we learned (line 124) that the Greystone Park post office of Morris Plains, NJ was suspended 3/27/07; yet on sheet 3 it's listed as having been suspended on 1/31/12.

The Milltown, NJ post office has been suspended as of 8/28/11. This photo was taken in February.

I've written about the suspensions of a couple of the offices listed: Elmhurst, PA; Johnsonburg, NJ; Mahanoy Plane, PA. I know all three listed dates to be accurate.

Sheet 4: Offices removed from RAOI, appears accurate. It's an updated version of the response to my FOIA received a couple of months back, and all appears consistent.

A new addition to the list is Providence, RI's Annex Station, which I documented not long ago in this entry. Closure would have made positively no sense as it's the only location downtown. Newark, NJ's Midtown Station, which I wrote about in this post back in October, has been saved. That study made no sense to me as the office had just absorbed the business of two recently discontinued stations, and so even the basic revenue analysis could not be accurate. Here's another one recently removed:

Cleveland, OH: Tower City Station

This was a friendly location that I visited back in 2009, and was not a ghost town by any means.

What I will note is interesting is that some Districts appear to be far ahead of others in the analysis of their respective RAOI offices. You can judge the extent of that prospect for yourself.

Sheet 5: Final Determinations issued since the start of 2011. This, too, need to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt. My friend Kelvin notes that the Final Determination issued for Gilbertville, MA was the determination that it would become a branch office at the beginning of this year. It's worth noting that while "only one" FD was issued in NJ last year, many other stations and branches were formally discontinued. As far as dates: they are accurate in some cases, but strike me as being way off in others. In many cases the dates are 3 to 4 months ahead of the actual discontinuance of the office.