Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Postally Puerto Rico

Several have gotten me thinking about the U.S. Post Offices on Puerto Rico lately... 1. The island has been in the news of late. 2. The Living New Deal has been adding some great photos and information about F.D.R.'s impact on the island by way of the work of various New Deal agencies. 3. When writing this Postlandia entry last month ranking U.S. states by number of active post offices, I had to manually de- and re-sort Puerto Rico since the territory outranked three states. 4. Our friend Jimmy Emerson, DVM, having visited all 50 states, recently snagged a few photos from the island. 5. Now I can show you some awesome photos of Puerto Rican New Deal post offices scanned at the National Archives!

Let's play a game we're calling Basic Postal Q&A: Puerto Rico Edition!
  1. Are post offices on Puerto Rico U.S. Post Offices?
    Absolutely! USPS operates the post offices in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other U.S. territories such as Guam and American Samoa in the Pacific Ocean. They're just like any other post office and standard postal rates are exactly the same as they are for anywhere else in the country.
  2. What's the USPS organizational structure for Puerto Rico?
    The Caribbean District, under USPS's Northeast Area, oversees postal operations on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. Where is their mail processed?
    All Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands mail is processed through the San Juan Processing and Distribution Center, also home to the San Juan Main Post Office and Caribbean District offices: 585 Ave. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, San Juan, PR.
    It's responsible for ZIP code blocks 005-007 and 009 (P.R.) and 008 (V.I.).
  4. How many post offices are in Puerto Rico?
    As of January 2017 Puerto Rico has 118 active post offices and 13 Contract Postal Units (CPUs). Most facilities are independent [main] post offices. There are just two (POStPlan) Remotely Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) on the island, and no Part-Time Post Offices (PTPOs). There are 21 classified (USPS-staffed) stations and seven classified branches, many of which center around San Juan.
  5. Have you spent way too long examining any largely dull and random resources while researching this entry?
    You know it! Check out this document by USPS's Address Management Systems Office: Postal Addressing Standards for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. You only live once.
That seems good for now. So where can you see some pictures? Your first stop should always be the PMCC Online Post Office Photo Collection: Puerto Rico page. We're presently nearing 27,000 photos, of which 54 are from Puerto Rico. So we've presently got a bit shy of half the island covered.

The National Archives has a few Treasury Department photos of completed post office construction in Puerto Rico.

Now the Atocha Station post office, what had been Ponce's main post office was completed in April 1933, meaning construction was begun under the Hoover administration and completed soon after F.D.R. took office.

Completed in 1937, the F.D.R.-era Mayagüez post office is the only one in Puerto Rico for which New Deal artwork was created. In fact, the post office houses two murals, which were installed in 1940. Titled "The Indian Mail System" and “Receipt of First Official Spanish Mail in the Island of Puerto Rico in 1541,″ the works were painted by Jose A. Maduro. You can see photos taken in 2017 of the post office and the artwork, courtesy Jimmy Emerson, in this album.

The following photos were taken in 1937 and 2000. The latter picture was taken by Postlandia friend John Gallagher.

Here's the building's entry on Living New Deal.

San Juan

Perhaps the most spectacular post office facility in Puerto Rico is [what is now known as] the Jose V. Toledo Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Juan. You can read more about the building's history at Living New Deal here. The facility was originally constructed in 1914, with its iconic towering addition built in 1940. While primary mail processing operations have been relocated, a postal station: the Old San Juan Station, is still housed in the historic facility.

Adiós por ahora!

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