We've been following the U.S Postal Service's push to close rural post offices across the country. Until now, few national media have looked at the impact on local residents. One ofthe offices among the 2,000 the USPS is considering closing is the one-room office in Star Tannery, Va., Paul Schwartzman of The Washington Post reports. Schwartzman spent a day at the Star Tannery office to better understand who uses the rural post office and what effects its closing might have on them.
Star Tannery's main attractions include "its church, which hosts an annual picnic on the second Saturday in August; a bar with $2 drafts and karaoke every Wednesday; a fire hall, home to the annual farmers carnival in July; a lone market that serves sandwiches on white - and white only - and does not have a toaster; and the post office, all of 308 square feet, which has been in the same white clapboard building since 1923," Schwartzman writes. The first visitor of the day, 74-year-old Helen Keller, arrives 45 minutes after opening. She has come to the office not only for mail, but also for "the possibility of conversation," Schwartzman reports. (Post photo by Katherine Frey)
If the post office is closed, locals will have to make the 20-mile round trip to Strasburg for many postal needs. "As much as inconvenience, they fear losing that inky black 'Star Tannery, Va.' on their postmark, a celebration of their place on the map," Schwartzman writes. Retired microbiologist and cashmere goat farmer Anne Repaske, 85, puts the price of closing the post office even higher. "Closing the post office would be one step toward eradicating small-town life in America," she told Schwartzman.