Through our Lens:

Coastal Postal Road Trip

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AWA set out on a road trip from the oldest post office to the Tiniest Post Office in the U.S. and delivered gifts along the way to celebrate our AWA Postcard Book. From Hinsdale, New Hampshire to Ochopee, Florida, we traveled down the East Coast with one of our favorite AWA Ambassadors, @streetscapecurator who visited indie bookstores, little free libraries and historic postal places to drop postcards, stickers, and other stationary sundries.

The Route! 🚘

Here’s our path – beginning in Hinsdale, New Hampshire and ending up in Ochopee, Florida.

13 Main St, Hinsdale, NH 03451

Welcome to the oldest continuously operating post office in the United States. Processing post for over two centuries, the Hinsdale Post Office has so much more to offer than your average stamp-seller.

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13 Main St, Hinsdale, NH 03451

Historic Deerfield

Ever dream of visiting an 18th-Century New England village? The kind of place where settlers weaved their own textiles, churned their own butter, and sewn their own seeds? Well, now you can! Hidden in the folds of the Connecticut River sits this historical heritage site. The grounds consist of twelve carefully-preserved 18th and 19th-century houses filled with antique furnishings, an updated museum, a voluminous research library, and the towns most recognizable building–a gorgeous post office modeled after an old-fashion meeting house. Hungry for more? Take a stroll through the village of Deerfield, where you can grab a bite to eat, do some shopping, and see all the beauty this lovely valley offers.

80 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA 01342

Chesterfield

Plopped along the Connecticut River in the southwest corner of the Granite State, this small town is a charming rural getaway. Decorated with some of the finest farmland in New Hampshire, along with many other natural beauties, including Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, Pisgah State Park, and Madame Sherri Forest, the region is a playground for outdoorsmen and women alike. The town also has historical significance if mother nature isn’t your thing. In 1844, the first Methodist Church in the state was built in Chesterfield. Coined the “Mother Church of Methodism,” Asbury Church still stands today and has been holding continual Sunday services since its conception.

523 NH-63, Chesterfield, NH 03443

Cape Ann

Poking out of northeastern Massacheutes, this rocky peninsula is home to five inviting coastal communities: Essex, Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-sea, and Rockport. Located only 30 miles northeast of Boston, it’s the perfect getaway for city dwellers looking to escape the treacherous driving conditions of Beantown and take in some of New England’s salty sea air. Between world-class fishing and top-notch antiquing to idyllic forest trails and jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic, there is something for everyone in Cape Ann.



13 Poplar St, Gloucester, MA 01930

Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History

After discovering the delightful world of stamps, Francis Spellman, an American Cardinal living in Rome, began collecting. Over the years, he’d send boxes full of stamps to an old friend in the States for safekeeping. Eventually, the Cardinal’s collection grew too large, and the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History was established in 1963. Since then, the museum, featuring a gallery, library, museum store, and post office, has grown into only one of two private stamp museums in the United States.

241 Wellesley St, Weston, MA 02493

Milk Street

Located in downtown Boston, this street runs directly through the city’s financial district. While the name “Milk Street” is most commonly attributed to the delicious dairy product we all know and love, some historians argue the street might be named after a 17th-century shipwright. As one of the city’s earliest highways, the road has a rich–or should we say creamy–history. In addition to serving as Benjamin Franklin’s birthplace, one of Boston’s first post offices opened on Milk Street in 1711, nearly 300 years ago.

31 Milk St Lbby, Boston, MA 02109

John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse

Skyscrapers and post offices are not often synonymous. Perhaps this 22-story granite behemoth is a lone exception. Originally built during the years 1931 to 1933, this post office, courthouse, and federal building is a symbol of Boston’s national stature. The building occupies a whole city block in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, overlooking Post Office Square, named after the USPS Sub-Treasury Building that had previously occupied the site since the early 1870s.

5 Post Office Square #1150, Boston, MA 02109

James A. Farley Building

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Nearly 250 years ago, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was founded on these words. Today, this creed still bears pride, carved into the granite of one of America’s most impressive postal facilities. Completed in 1914, the building’s facade features one of the largest Corinthian colonnades in the world. Thanks to the structure’s rich history and immense beauty, it was designated a New York City landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places.  

421 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Readington Village Post Office

Readington Village is a small–and we mean small–unincorporated community that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. The town, which is centered on the joining of four country roads, only has three non-residential buildings, including a volunteer fire house, a church, and their charming post office–the last of which is owned by the LIttle Shell Band of Chippewa Indians.

114 Readington Rd bldg 2, Readington Township, NJ 08870

Mount Tabor Post Office

Originally a Methodist camp meeting ground, this nostalgic North Jersey community has grown into a small town with mighty charm. The town looks as if it was plucked from a movie set with it’s decorative Victorian style homes, local museum, fire department, country club, and of course, the post office.  

26 Simpson Ave, Tabor, NJ 07878

B. Free Franklin Post Office

Restored in 1975 to commemorate none other than Mr. 100-dollar-bill himself, this post office was once Benjamin Franklin’s personal residence. Designed in a Colonial style, employees at this branch dress in period costumes and use a quill and ink instead of modern-day ballpoint pens. But that’s not the only unique characteristic of this post office. In 1775, when Franklin was appointed Postmaster General (the first in U.S. history), the Nation had yet to design a flag. For this reason, B. Free Franklin Post Office is the only post office in the United States that does not fly the Stars and Stripes.

316 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Stamp quest? Or Stamp attraction? Located next to Union Station in the capital of the United States, this museum is dedicated to all “philatists”, or as some might know them, the studiers of stamps.

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2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The post office located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue has been listed on the National Register of Historic places since its debut in 1899. Nestled between the White House and Capitol building–the crème de la crème of all-American real estate–this luxury hotel once served as The Nation’s General Post Office. Toppled with a spectacular bell tower (the third tallest structure in D.C.), the building is a classic example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and offers up some of the best views in the city.

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Buyers, beware. One member of the crew at Capitol Hill Books isn’t here for your crap — and he means, it in the most caring, sincere way possible.

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657 C St SE, Washington, DC 20003

This is the tale of a post office that became the battleground in a town’s fight for its very existence. In 1779, Georgetown was established as a port of entry to the United States, giving it important status as it built its local economy. For decades, though, the point of entry was missing a proper home. In fact, no one has ever been able to pin down the site of the first custom house in Georgetown! In 1856, Congress made it right — giving the town the funds to build a permanent custom house and post office.

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1215 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Arlington Post Office

In the first half of the 20th century, five neighborhoods in the Arlington area of Virginia consolidated into a single district, equipped with its own identity and government. As the county’s first federal building, this post office solidified the community’s unifying transformation. Built in 1939, The Arlington post office is a modern interpretation of the historic Georgian revival style. Infact, the trowel used to lay the cornerstone of this northern Virginia branch was also used to lay the cornerstones of the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian, and the Washington Monument. Next time you’re in D.C., hop over to the Potomac and check out this piece of postal history.

3118 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Charleston Postal Museum

Outfitted with old stamps, newspaper clippings from past generations, and other fascinating postal memorabilia, this museum highlights Charleston’s unique mailing history. Following a destructive earthquake back in the day, Chucktown’s current post office (which houses this museum) was built in 1896, making it the oldest continuously operating post office in the Carolinas. With over 120 years of service, it’s no wonder this branch is known for its warm southern charm. Next time you’re in town, stop on by, say hi, and maybe even send a letter or two.

77 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

Christmas Post Office

Founded in 1892, this post office was named after its hometown, Fort Christmas. Since, the “fort” has been dropped and the community, along with the post office, has fully embraced the festive holiday spirit. The town even has reindeer-inspired street names! Every winter, during the most wonderful time of year, crowds of people flock to the Christmas Post Office to decorate envelopes and packages with special holiday stamps. Inside, visitors can check out a wonderful display that showcases letters to Santa from all around the world!

23580 E Colonial Dr, Christmas, FL 32709

Celebration Post Office

Designed by none other than Mr. Michael Graves himself, this post office is a classic example of postmodern architecture. Inspired by the St. Petersburg Open Air Post Office, the building features a round rotunda with an exposed wood-joist ceiling. Meanwhile, the mailboxes reside in an outdoor gallery, allowing customers to catch some of those sunny Florida rays while they flip sift through the day’s yield.

601 Market St, Kissimmee, FL 34747

Alligators sunbathing in the parking lot is only one of many surprising discoveries visitors may find when stopping by the Ochopee Post Office in the Florida Everglades. The post office, located along the U.S. Route 41, is in fact, the smallest full-service post office in the United States.

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38000 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL 34141

Miami Post Office

Designed by Howard Lovewell Cheney in 1937, this Art Deco style post office epitomizes Miami’s decorative spirit. With a tall and circular lobby, cone shaped roof, and a small indoor fountain, this branch screams South Beach. Over the years, the building was outfitted with historical paintings that represent The Sunshine State’s rich history.

1300 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33119

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