Feb
20

A Town Without ZIP Code | WAMC

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A Town Without ZIP Code | WAMC.

Or, How a mail delivery efficiency tool takes on greater and unintended purpose!

It’s not the fault of the USPS that the boundaries of 12065  don’t match those of the town of “Halfmoon”. In the ’60s when the “zone improvement code” system was implemented, there probably was a “town” of “Halfmoon” (named after Hudson’s ship, the first European vessel to ascend the Hudson), but I suspect that town had no real center.  The area was home to farmland and meandering small roads linking a succession of “hamlets” at the crossroads where there would be 5 or 6 homes, perhaps a small store and a garage and farm implements sales/repair shop.  Somewhere there would have been a telephone office.  There might have been a larger town perhaps within Halfmoon’s boundaries, perhaps not, which had started life as the market town in the late 18th or early 19th century, and it would have the high school and larger businesses, and many homes.

But I suspect the geographical area called “Halfmoon” was an area without a focal population center.  I also suspect that what folks called “Halfmoon” could be nicely chopped up into 4 pieces and those pieces would fit nicely as part of ZIP areas centered on towns that were much larger, and which housed the USPS final delivery stations for those geographic areas.

But now Halfmoon has more people, more activities, more homes, and its own emergency services.  Probably a lot of those road intersections now have many more homes and small businesses, and identity has become more important.

And the Zipcode has taken on new functions, unanticipated and non-postal. The Zipcode’s function has been expanded by the public to now support community pride, community politics, civic self-identity, emergency services, and geographical location.

I’m sure the USPS will do its best to make the changes the citizens want (especially with a US Senator at their side). But have a little patience with them. It’s being bent to a purpose never intended for it.

Categories : ZIP Code

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