Neither Snow nor Rain… Unique Post Offices Across the U.S.
The delivery of mail is a time-honored service in busy urban metropolitan areas, small cities, suburban neighborhoods and quiet rural communities across the U.S. Nearly every town in America has a post office, and in some towns these centers serve as a focal point for local residents – dispensing mail, packages, news, and neighborly spirit. But not all post offices are created equal. Do you happen to live in one of these towns whose post office has a unique claim to fame?
The post office in Alma, Colorado (zip code 80420), has the distinction of being the highest elevation post office at a whopping 10,578 feet above sea level. Death Valley, California (zip code 92328), on the other hand, is the post office with the lowest elevation at 282 feet below sea level – and is also the hottest and driest post office in the country, with an average summer high of 116° F, and an average rainfall of only 2.36 inches a year. If you shipped a bag of air from Alma to Death Valley, it would shrink by more than thirty percent due to the change in air pressure!
Bring sure to bring your rain gear if you plan on visiting the wettest post office – the Kapaa, Hawaii Post Office (zip code 96746), near Mt. Waialeale. While the exact amount of rain it gets is debated, the Guinness Book of Weather Records quotes the figure at a stunning 451 inches per year. Rain falls on Mt. Waialeale anywhere from 335 to 360 days of the year.
Want to break out that new parka instead? You’ll need it at the coldest post office – a tie between Barrow (zip code 99723), known officially as Utqiaġvik since 2016, and nearby Wainwright (zip code 99782), in Alaska’s North Slope region, with an average annual temperature of 11.8°F and an average low of -20.4°F in February. Typically, only 120 days of the year have temperatures above freezing. Barrow is also the northernmost post office (and city) in the entire United States. At latitude 71°17’26” N, 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the city is also the 11th northernmost community in the world.
Maybe you enjoy living on the edge? The northernmost post office in the 48 contiguous states is in Angle Inlet, Minnesota (zip code 56711), at latitude 49°20’43” N, making it the only place in the contiguous states located north of the 49th parallel. The southernmost post office in the entire 50 states is in Naalehu, Hawaii (zip code 96772), at 19°3’57” N, while the southernmost post office in the 48 contiguous states is in Key West, Florida (zip code 33040), located at 24°33’33” N. The easternmost post office both in the contiguous 48 states and the entire country is in Lubec, Maine (zip code 04652), at 67°0’56” W. The westernmost post office in the entire country is in Adak, Alaska (zip code 99546), at 176°38’42” W, while the westernmost post office in the 48 contiguous states is in La Push, Washington (zip code 98350), at 124°37’34” W.
Maybe you prefer being at the center of everything? Then you may want to live near the most central post office in the entire country which is in Belle Fourche, South Dakota (zip code 57717), while the most central post office for the 48 contiguous states is in Lebanon, Kansas (zip code 66952).
Some other points of interest in America? The smallest post office is the Ochopee Post Office, in Ochopee, Florida (zip code 34141), with only 61.3 square feet of space, while the largest post office is the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City, New York (zip code 10001), with an astounding 393,000 square feet. The oldest post office still operating in the same building is in Hinsdale, New Hampshire (zip code 03451), which has been in operation since 1816. The second oldest post office is in Castine, Maine (zip code 04421), which has been in operation since 1833.
The most extraordinary post office with the most unusual delivery method is in Peach Springs, Arizona (zip code 86434), which has walk-in freezers that contain food to be delivered by mule train down an 8-mile trail to the Havasupai Indians, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The mules also carry mail, supplies, and furniture – an average of 4,000 pounds every day, at about 130 pounds per mule! The second most unusual delivery method is delivery by boat on the Detroit River in Michigan by the JW Westcott, which even has its own zip code – 48222 – and delivers mail to passing ships. The third most unusual delivery method is dock-to-dock delivery on the Magnolia River in Alabama, where a 15-foot mail boat delivers to 176 dockside mailboxes.
If rural life is more of your style, come visit these rural communities. The longest rural delivery route is in Mangum, Oklahoma (zip code 73554), at 182.75 miles per day, covering 248 boxes. The shortest rural delivery route is in Athens, Georgia (zip code 30601), at just 0.18 miles per day, covering 281 deliveries – 280 central delivery boxes and a single regular mailbox.
Of the nearly 42,000 zip codes in the country, the lowest zip code is for the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville, New York, zip code 00501. Ketchikan, Alaska has the highest zip code, at 99950. The easiest zip code to remember is 12345, the zip code for the General Electric in Schenectady, New York.
Some other unique places with interesting post offices? The post office that serves the longest main street in America is in Island Park, Indiana (zip code 83429), at 33 miles long. The post office that most needs a bridge is in Point Roberts, Washington (zip code 98281), since it can only be reached by car if you drive through British Columbia, Canada. You’d need a boat or plane to travel there directly. The most subterranean facility is Stamp Fulfillment Services, in Kansas City, Missouri, which is located 150 feet underground in a limestone cavern. As the postal service’s only facility located completely underground, stamps stored here are maintained in mint-quality condition due to the consistent year-round temperatures and humidity levels.
Deciding instead that you’d rather visit the Clinton Post Office? You’ll have your pick with over 26 different locations to choose from, as it’s the most common name for a post office in the U.S., followed by Madison with 25, Franklin and Washington with 24, Chester and Marion with 23, and Greenville and Springfield tying with 22.
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