17 Historic and Unusual Post Offices Across America



Slide 1 of 18: Do you ever go to the post office anymore? Today, of course, we have electronic bill payments and emails instead of greeting cards, but what one person considers progress might elicit wistfulness in another. No matter the technical threats and general downsizing, post offices are far from extinct. Whether historic in nature, architecturally interesting or simply quirky in their operations, we celebrate those homes of snail mail with this special-delivery missive through some of the nation's most unique outposts.
 Related:
 30 of the Oldest General Stores in America
Slide 2 of 18: 
 Ochopee, Florida
 This post office on the outskirts of the Everglades is considered the nation's smallest, estimated to be 7-by-8 feet in total. The former irrigation pipe shed has been handling mail operations since the 1950s — and even has a sought-after postmark proclaiming its diminutive distinction.
 Related:
 16 Public Buildings You Have to See Inside
Slide 3 of 18: 
 Philadelphia
 Benjamin Franklin was named the first postmaster general of the United States when the U.S. Post Office was formed in 1775 and once lived in the building that would become this historic post office. Take a tour, get a hand-canceled stamp, and visit the adjacent museum. (You may notice this is the only U.S. post office not to fly the American flag. Why? Because there was no U.S. flag when Franklin was appointed postmaster general.)
 Related:
 The 40 Best Places in America to Travel Back in Time
Slide 4 of 18: 
 Christmas, Florida
 People have been known to drive miles, Christmas cards and packages in hand, to secure the postmark of this site established in 1892. Seasonal postmarks (think Santa Claus or a snowman) are a favorite — and despite the warm weather, there's a decidedly holiday spirit alive here year-round aided by a display of letters sent to Ol' Saint Nick from children around the world.
 Related:
 From Santa Claus to Mistletoe — 20 Towns With Festive Names
Slide 5 of 18: 
 Cape May Point, New Jersey
 The quirky post office at Cape May Point in the southernmost part of New Jersey looks like a vestige of the "The Waltons" era. Serving just a few hundred year-round residents at this popular summer resort region, it's not only a community meeting place but also a necessary part of life as there's no home delivery.
 Related:
 20 Beach Vacation Spots Where Time Stands Still
Slide 6 of 18: 
 Valentine, Texas
 You don't have to visit rural Texas — though you certainly can go that extra mile — to secure this sweetheart of a postmark for your beloved. It's a tradition to send your pre-stamped card in a larger envelope and it will be sent out with a special holiday postmark.
 Related:
 The Most Romantic Place in Every State
Slide 7 of 18: 
 Detroit River, Michigan
 You have to be a ship to do business with this "post office." Here's the scoop: the J.W. Westcott Co. started delivering mail to ships back in the late 19th century, eventually becoming an official U.S. Postal Service mail boat in the late 1940s. Today, it continues to operate along the Detroit River using its signature "mail in the pail" bucket-style system for its marine mail delivery.
Slide 8 of 18: 
 New York
 The massive 1912 Beaux Arts treasure in Manhattan was the largest post office in the country for years, a staggering two-block icon of nearly 400,000 square feet. On its façade is the postal motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." A sign of the times, the building is no longer solely housing postal operations but has portions being converted to a train concourse.
 Related:
 55 Free or Cheap Things to Do in New York City
Slide 9 of 18: 
 Castine, Maine
 The second-oldest continuously operated posted office in America, this site traces its roots back to 1817, with the federal government leasing it for use in 1833 before eventually buying it. It serves a seaside town that itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, settled by Europeans seven years before the Pilgrims hit Plymouth Rock. Yankee magazine has noted of Castine's post office, "When we go to mail a letter or buy stamps, why not also feel the legacy of history when we step inside?"
Slide 10 of 18: 
 Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas
 As Evan Kalish of the Postlandia blog writes, "the Downtown Station post office of Texarkana — the city that's 'Twice as Nice,' if you believe the water tower off I-30 — is perfectly bisected by the Arkansas/Texas state line." Turns out the states had separate post offices until 1892 when the first joint post office was built on the state line. The current structure, completed in 1933, features both Texas pink granite and gray Arkansas limestone — how fair! The entrance is a noted photo op, as well.
 Related:
 Amazing Places to Take a Selfie in All 50 States
Slide 11 of 18: 
 Supai, Arizona
 This remote Native American village nestled within the Grand Canyon receives its mail delivery by ... mule. In fact, the entire community is only accessible by mule, foot, or helicopter. Junemarie Brandt describes the process on the USPS blog, noting, "Despite the many innovations in mail processing, transportation and delivery, there are situations where an old fashioned method gives the best service to our customers."
 Related:
 11 Low-Tech Things That Still Beat Their Digital-Age Upgrades
Slide 12 of 18: 
 Peach Spring, Arizona
 Working hand-in-hand with the Supai Post Office, the Peach Springs office, which features a walk-in refrigerator for perishables, is the originating site for the Supai mail, with a contractor picking up the goods from Peach Spring and driving them nearly 70 miles to the rim of the Canyon where they are packed onto a mule for an 8-mile trek.
Slide 13 of 18: 
 Springfield, Ohio
 With its current building dating back to the 1930s, this stately post office features not only the popular Art Deco architecture of its day but distinctive murals by Herman Henry Wessel believed to have been commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and its Public Works of Art Project. The PWAP led to iconic — and often enduring — art at post offices and other civic buildings across the nation. After a 1970s remodel that hid the works for decades, preservation efforts around a decade ago uncovered them, restoring them for patrons to enjoy once again. Also of note are two exterior 18-foot eagle sculptures.
Slide 14 of 18: 
 La Jolla, California
 Not every post office has to look imposing and official. A prime example is the charming Spanish-inspired 1935-built post office in La Jolla, sadly put on an "endangered" list by the National Trust several years ago ... but happily earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places last year. Another treasure — this one featuring art from the WPA's PWAP program including a mural by Belle Baranceanu — lives on.
Slide 15 of 18: 
 Hoolehua, Molokai, Hawaii
 "Probably the only place in America where you can post a coconut," writes a Frenchwoman on TripAdvisor. What is she talking about? Well, at this post office you can — literally — avail yourself of the "Post-a-Nut" program. Since 1991, this tourist-friendly activity lets visitors mail a coconut (you can decorate it, too) as a souvenir of your time in paradise. Oh, and you can buy stamps, too.
 Related:
 The Best of Hawaii on a Budget
Slide 16 of 18: 
 Nashville, Tennessee
 Ignore the workmanlike exterior and head inside for the real surprise. Travel + Leisure reports in "America's Quirkiest Post Offices," that, "There's no mistaking you're in Music City, USA, when you queue up at the Acklen Post Office. The walls are adorned with rows of framed-and-signed photos of country music singers, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, and countless other flamboyantly coiffed stars."
 Related:
 36 Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers
Slide 17 of 18: 
 Halibut Cove, Alaska
 This one's so quirky we'll let Evan Kalish of Postlandia describe the operation that starts on the Stormbird, a former U.S. Army T-boat: "Aboard is a stack of mail and a bag of mail. Mail gets delivered twice a week to Halibut Cove: Tuesday and Saturday ... Upon arrival at the dock the mail is carried the few dozen feet to the post office. Halibut Cove is identified by USPS as a No-Office Point (NOP), 'a location where there is no Postal Service facility or Postal Service personnel. The NOP community identifies and appoints an individual as the agent responsible for receipt and dispatch of mail.' " A contractor comes down to the dock to get the mail, opening up shop for its limited schedule.
Slide 18 of 18: 
 Hinsdale, New Hampshire
 For all the naysayers, look to Hinsdale ... this post office housed in a clapboard building marked its 200th anniversary back in 2016, making it the oldest continuously operated post office in the country — in its original building dating back to 1816. Starting out as space carved out of a general store, it's now the sole occupant of the building's first floor offering a walk back in time complete with original brass P.O. boxes dating from the 19th century.

Letter Perfect

Do you ever go to the post office anymore? Today, of course, we have electronic bill payments and emails instead of greeting cards, but what one person considers progress might elicit wistfulness in another. No matter the technical threats and general downsizing, post offices are far from extinct. Whether historic in nature, architecturally interesting or simply quirky in their operations, we celebrate those homes of snail mail with this special-delivery missive through some of the nation’s most unique outposts.

Ochopee Post Office

Ochopee, Florida

This post office on the outskirts of the Everglades is considered the nation’s smallest, estimated to be 7-by-8 feet in total. The former irrigation pipe shed has been handling mail operations since the 1950s — and even has a sought-after postmark proclaiming its diminutive distinction.

B. Free Franklin Post Office & Museum

Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin was named the first postmaster general of the United States when the U.S. Post Office was formed in 1775 and once lived in the building that would become this historic post office. Take a tour, get a hand-canceled stamp, and visit the adjacent museum. (You may notice this is the only U.S. post office not to fly the American flag. Why? Because there was no U.S. flag when Franklin was appointed postmaster general.)

Christmas Post Office

Christmas, Florida

People have been known to drive miles, Christmas cards and packages in hand, to secure the postmark of this site, established in 1892. Seasonal postmarks (think Santa Claus or a snowman) are a favorite — and despite the warm weather, there’s a decidedly holiday spirit alive here year-round, aided by a display of letters sent to Ol’ Saint Nick from children around the world.

Cape May Point Post Office

Cape May Point, New Jersey

The quirky post office at Cape May Point in the southernmost part of New Jersey looks like a vestige of the “The Waltons” era. Serving just a few hundred year-round residents at this popular summer resort region, it’s not only a community meeting place but also a necessary part of life as there’s no home delivery.

Related:
20 Beach Vacation Spots Where Time Stands Still

Valentine Post Office

Valentine, Texas

You don’t have to visit rural Texas — though you certainly can go that extra mile — to secure this sweetheart of a postmark for your beloved. It’s a tradition to send your pre-stamped card in a larger envelope and it will be sent out with a special holiday postmark.

Related:
The Most Romantic Place in Every State

J.W. Westcott II

Detroit River, Michigan

You have to be a ship to do business with this “post office.” Here’s the scoop: the J.W. Westcott Co. started delivering mail to ships back in the late 19th century, eventually becoming an official U.S. Postal Service mail boat in the late 1940s. Today, it continues to operate along the Detroit River using its signature “mail in the pail” bucket-style system for its marine mail delivery.

James A. Farley Post Office

New York

The massive 1912 Beaux Arts treasure in Manhattan was the largest post office in the country for years, a staggering two-block icon of nearly 400,000 square feet. On its façade is the postal motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” A sign of the times, the building is no longer solely housing postal operations but has portions being converted to a train concourse.

Castine Post Office

Castine, Maine

The second-oldest continuously operated posted office in America, this site traces its roots back to 1817, with the federal government leasing it for use in 1833 before eventually buying it. It serves a seaside town that itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, settled by Europeans seven years before the Pilgrims hit Plymouth Rock. Yankee magazine has noted of Castine’s post office, “When we go to mail a letter or buy stamps, why not also feel the legacy of history when we step inside?”

Texarkana Post Office

Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas

As Evan Kalish of the Postlandia blog writes, “the Downtown Station post office of Texarkana — the city that’s ‘Twice as Nice,’ if you believe the water tower off I-30 — is perfectly bisected by the Arkansas/Texas state line.” Turns out the states had separate post offices until 1892 when the first joint post office was built on the state line. The current structure, completed in 1933, features both Texas pink granite and gray Arkansas limestone — how fair! The entrance is a noted photo op, as well.

Related:
Amazing Places to Take a Selfie in All 50 States

Supai Post Office

Supai, Arizona

This remote Native American village nestled within the Grand Canyon receives its mail delivery by … mule. In fact, the entire community is only accessible by mule, foot, or helicopter. Junemarie Brandt describes the process on the USPS blog, noting, “Despite the many innovations in mail processing, transportation and delivery, there are situations where an old fashioned method gives the best service to our customers.”

Related:
11 Low-Tech Things That Still Beat Their Digital-Age Upgrades

Peach Springs Post Office

Peach Spring, Arizona

Working hand-in-hand with the Supai Post Office, the Peach Springs office, which features a walk-in refrigerator for perishables, is the originating site for the Supai mail, with a contractor picking up the goods from Peach Spring and driving them nearly 70 miles to the rim of the Canyon where they are packed onto a mule for an 8-mile trek.

Springfield Post Office

Springfield, Ohio

With its current building dating back to the 1930s, this stately post office features not only the popular Art Deco architecture of its day but distinctive murals by Herman Henry Wessel believed to have been commissioned by the Works Progress Administration and its Public Works of Art Project. The PWAP led to iconic — and often enduring — art at post offices and other civic buildings across the nation. After a 1970s remodel that hid the works for decades, preservation efforts around a decade ago uncovered them, restoring them for patrons to enjoy once again. Also of note are two exterior 18-foot eagle sculptures.

La Jolla Post Office

La Jolla, California

Not every post office has to look imposing and official. A prime example is the charming Spanish-inspired 1935-built post office in La Jolla, sadly put on an “endangered” list by the National Trust several years ago … but happily earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places last year. Another treasure — this one featuring art from the WPA’s PWAP program including a mural by Belle Baranceanu — lives on.

Hoolehua Post Office

Hoolehua, Molokai, Hawaii

“Probably the only place in America where you can post a coconut,” writes a Frenchwoman on TripAdvisor. What is she talking about? Well, at this post office you can — literally — avail yourself of the “Post-a-Nut” program. Since 1991, this tourist-friendly activity lets visitors mail a coconut (you can decorate it, too) as a souvenir of your time in paradise. Oh, and you can buy stamps, too.

Related:
The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Acklen Station Post Office

Nashville, Tennessee

Ignore the workmanlike exterior and head inside for the real surprise. Travel + Leisure reports in “America’s Quirkiest Post Offices,” that, “There’s no mistaking you’re in Music City, USA, when you queue up at the Acklen Post Office. The walls are adorned with rows of framed-and-signed photos of country music singers, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, and countless other flamboyantly coiffed stars.”

Related:
36 Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers

Halibut Cove Floating Post Office

Halibut Cove, Alaska

This one’s so quirky we’ll let Evan Kalish of Postlandia describe the operation that starts on the Stormbird, a former U.S. Army T-boat: “Aboard is a stack of mail and a bag of mail. Mail gets delivered twice a week to Halibut Cove: Tuesday and Saturday … Upon arrival at the dock the mail is carried the few dozen feet to the post office. Halibut Cove is identified by USPS as a No-Office Point (NOP), ‘a location where there is no Postal Service facility or Postal Service personnel. The NOP community identifies and appoints an individual as the agent responsible for receipt and dispatch of mail.’ ” A contractor comes down to the dock to get the mail, opening up shop for its limited schedule.

Hinsdale Post Office

Hinsdale, New Hampshire

For all the naysayers, look to Hinsdale … this post office housed in a clapboard building marked its 200th anniversary back in 2016, making it the oldest continuously operated post office in the country — in its original building dating back to 1816. Starting out as space carved out of a general store, it’s now the sole occupant of the building’s first floor offering a walk back in time complete with original brass P.O. boxes dating from the 19th century.

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