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I remember how the Post Office once worked
Old 12-16-2017, 08:43 AM   #1
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I remember how the Post Office once worked

I see a few posts about the US Postal Service now and then and it brings back old memories how they operated at one time. Growing up and really not that many years ago in small town America you didn't have an address. The mail got to you by having your name on the letter, the town and the zip code. There was no physical address and in these small towns everyone knew each other and you had to have a mail box at the post office and had to go there to get the mail. No delivery to the door. LOL

Does anyone remember those days?
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:47 AM   #2
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The house we bought a few years ago has a mail slot in the door. Freaks us out when the mailman stealthy delivers our mail. The days of knowing your mail person unfortunately are over.
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:53 AM   #3
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I see a few posts about the US Postal Service now and then and it brings back old memories how they operated at one time. Growing up and really not that many years ago in small town America you didn't have an address. The mail got to you by having your name on the letter, the town and the zip code. There was no physical address and in these small towns everyone knew each other and you had to have a mail box at the post office and had to go there to get the mail. No delivery to the door. LOL

Does anyone remember those days?
I don't actually remember that but in the rural area where I live, I have a PO Box "and" a rural route mail box at my physical address. They deliver all my mail (both PO Box addressed and physical addressed) to the PO Box. When I walk into the Post Office to pickup a package they know me by my PO Box number. I'm surprised they don't greet me by saying, hello Mr. Box XXXX.
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:28 AM   #4
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I remember it fondly. We moved from the big city to a small rural town of about 1700 residents when I was in 7th grade. I remember having to stop by the post office after school to pick up the mail for my mom. Dad would pick it up if he got home from work before 5PM, which is when the PO closed. Out post off had they small boxes with a combination lock on them that you still see in many PO's that are still in older buildings.

Far cry from today's mail service that includes white and brown bread-box trucks stopping by on an almost daily basis. At least at this time of year.
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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No rural experience, but in the big city things were certainly different.

When I was a kid, ZIP codes had not yet been invented. We got two mail deliveries every day, morning and afternoon. In the two or three weeks before Christmas, there were as many as five deliveries a day.
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:39 AM   #6
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No rural experience, but in the big city things were certainly different.

When I was a kid, ZIP codes had not yet been invented. We got two mail deliveries every day, morning and afternoon. In the two or three weeks before Christmas, there were as many as five deliveries a day.
Note that many cities had zones way back when (essentially the equivalent of the last digit of the zip code) so that sorters did not have to look up which route or even post office in a city the address was assigned to (since back then you had to look in a book, as computer searching had not yet arrived. )
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:40 AM   #7
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No rural experience, but in the big city things were certainly different.

When I was a kid, ZIP codes had not yet been invented. We got two mail deliveries every day, morning and afternoon. In the two or three weeks before Christmas, there were as many as five deliveries a day.
Yes, this would be highly dependent on the locality.

I remember reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, and they'd talk about getting the morning and afternoon mail - two deliveries a day. Seemed odd to me, like they were more advanced then than we are now? But then my Mom said they got mail 2x a day in Chicago when she was a kid.

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Old 12-16-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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We have a cabin in a rural area, and we didn't even have a post box.
I haven't even been in the post office for over a decade, as we don't (I hope) get mail there.
But when would stay there all summer, we had mail redirected to the cabin.
Only it had no delivery.

We would just go up to the counter and ask any mail for Jones on X island ? , oh and I might as well get the mail for neighbors too, the Harrison's, Smith's, Johnson, and Williams.

They would hand it all over for us to bring back to the neighbors. It was a nice trusting time.
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:46 AM   #9
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Note that many cities had zones way back when (essentially the equivalent of the last digit of the zip code) so that sorters did not have to look up which route or even post office in a city the address was assigned to (since back then you had to look in a book, as computer searching had not yet arrived. )
Yes, we had two-digit zones in NYC, so the bottom line on my address was
Brooklyn 29, NY

When they came out with the current system it got the acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:34 AM   #10
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Nope. I grew up in suburbia outside Washington, D.C. and we had a street address. No zip code though. Mail was delivered once per day.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:01 PM   #11
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When they came out with the current system it got the acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.
I learned something today, never did know what the origin of "zip" code was.

Speaking of old vs new post office, all the new neighborhoods have the common set of post boxes at one common location. You have to go to that location and open your box to get your mail. Whereas when I was younger we had the box on the house and the mailman (or mail lady) walked up to each house. The in-between is having the individual box at the street where it is accessible by a drive-up mail vehicle.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:38 PM   #12
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Ha, ha, ha, we still have an old time post office

Small box doors with combination lock, check

Postmaster that knows you by name, check

Will call you to say a neighbor is there, should they pick up your mail, check

Yea, this is all normal for us, would not have it anyother way.

PO in.jpg
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:49 PM   #13
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When we lived in Connecticut in Southbury on Bucks Hill Road we didn't have a house number. We just put our last name on the mailbox and we got our mail.

The guy who delivered the mail was also our entire police department (Constable). He also did the finish carpentry in our house when I built it.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:57 PM   #14
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Speaking of old vs new post office, all the new neighborhoods have the common set of post boxes at one common location. You have to go to that location and open your box to get your mail. Whereas when I was younger we had the box on the house and the mailman (or mail lady) walked up to each house. The in-between is having the individual box at the street where it is accessible by a drive-up mail vehicle.
Yeah, that's a definite degradation in service. My house in NJ was built in the 1950s and had a mailbox at the door. Loved it. Does anyone know- what forced the current trends? In other words, why do builders/developers cluster all the mail boxes together in a common location? Is it that much cheaper than putting individual mail boxes at each door, or does the Post Office require it?
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:04 PM   #15
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Yes, we had two-digit zones in NYC, so the bottom line on my address was
Brooklyn 29, NY

When they came out with the current system it got the acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.
Hey, I was also Brooklyn 29, NY. Maybe we were close neighbors. I lived on Batchelder St.
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:12 PM   #16
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Yeah, that's a definite degradation in service. My house in NJ was built in the 1950s and had a mailbox at the door. Loved it. Does anyone know- what forced the current trends? In other words, why do builders/developers cluster all the mail boxes together in a common location? Is it that much cheaper than putting individual mail boxes at each door, or does the Post Office require it?
Much much cheaper for the USPS to deliver to a group of boxes rather than ea individual home. I see mailboxes on the street unsecured and anybody can open them and i think "How Quaint" but not for me. If I had a mailbox like that I would get a PO Box.

We must be at the end of the line for our mail lady. Many many times she is loading the community box after 5:00 pm and sometimes around 7:00 pm. USPS employee too not a contract carrier
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:21 PM   #17
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Much much cheaper for the USPS to deliver to a group of boxes rather than ea individual home.
I know that, but let me ask the question another way. If a developer built a new neighborhood and put, say, mail slots in each door instead of a cluster of mailboxes, would the Post Office refuse to deliver mail?
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:28 PM   #18
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I know that, but let me ask the question another way. If a developer built a new neighborhood and put, say, mail slots in each door instead of a cluster of mailboxes, would the Post Office refuse to deliver mail?
We have a member here who works at a post office so hopefully he'll chime in. I'm not sure if it is required by the P.O., but I'm pretty sure it is encouraged because of the cost savings to the P.O. Our house was built in 2002 and we have a mailbox on a post out by the driveway, and by that time I had seen housing developments with the cluster mailboxes.

However, our house and many others were a "add on" to a development that had been in place for ~15 years so perhaps we were "grandfathered" in to the old system.

Gotta go now, the mail carrier just delivered the mail.
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:45 PM   #19
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Around these 'burbs it's getting progressively more difficult to find an outbound mail box. Boxes that had been at busy street corners or shopping areas have been removed. Other than at the Post Office itself, I know of only one outbound box located within a five-mile radius.
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:49 PM   #20
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Around these 'burbs it's getting progressively more difficult to find an outbound mail box. Boxes that had been at busy street corners or shopping areas have been removed. Other than at the Post Office itself, I know of only one outbound box located within a five-mile radius.
I think all neighborhood cluster boxes accept outgoing mail. Is that an option?
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