Small Town PO

This is the Post Office in the town of West Topsham just down the hill from us. Click on the image to see a larger panorama. Someone asked me today about our postal address versus our physical address with a bit of confusion about the town and zip code. There are many right answers to this question. :)

Short answer: Yes, what they had will work.

The full answer is a bit longer and very wordy: Our property is on the border between Orange and West Topsham. Our land and house is technically located in Orange town in Orange county. We pay our taxes to the town of Orange, go to town meeting in Orange and vote in Orange all on the other side of the mountain from where we live. The vast bulk of the population of Orange is over the hill and other the other side of the water shed from us. This is not a statement about their weight, age or politics. On the other hand, two select men, the town lawyer, the town forester, two school board members and another town official all live here on our side of the mountain – all the rest of the people who live on our road. A real concentration of officialdom. The town of Orange has no Post Office or zip code. It is too small – population 956 last I knew. On the other hand West Topsham does have a Post Office since it is much bigger with a population of over 1,100 people plus dogs, cows, pigs, sheep and horses. West Topsham even have a general store and a fire department (volunteer), a baseball diamond, grange and a church in town. Orange has a church and a used car mechanic plus a lot of farms. Most of the people in Orange actually get their mail at Post Office boxes in Barre town or East Barre where the granite quarry is and where they are taking apart the mountain – that is another story. The mail in our valley on the far end of Orange on our side of the mountain is delivered from the West Topsham Post Office which is just 1.5 miles down the mountain road from our house going to the east. Generally I put West Topsham for an address as that is simplest for mail since that is where the post office is and we’re almost there. Sometimes the address correction services change it to Barre. Sometimes they change the town to East Orange which is south of us. Sometimes they change it to simply Orange. Both of those have on occasion resulted in mail bouncing back to the sender. Ain’t databases great! If you use the 05086 zip code it seems to get to us most of the time no matter what the town in the address. 05086 is the West Topsham Post Office and they deliver the mail to us but not to the vast majority of Orange. Most people don’t care what the exact location is. They just want the mail to get through. That is what matters. In fact, if you put 05086 and Walter Jeffries it gets to me. Even 05086 and Walter has gotten to me at times.

These are small towns. I like it here. We’re on the margin between them. Confusing, complicated and occasionally funny. Sometime ask me to tell you about our phone lines and electrical power… :)

“chance favors the prepared mind” -Louis Pasture

Low 27°F, High 32°F, Overcast, light snow all day 1/2″ accumulation.


About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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2 Responses to Small Town PO

  1. P.V. says:

    Beautiful country!

  2. Very familiar. We’re two miles from the town of Belfry (yes, their mascot & teams are bats). We’re twelve miles from Bridger, where our mail route comes from. So our mailing address is Bridger, our phone exchange is Belfry. And the county just changed its rural addressing to 911 addressing – so now our address has changed – again. But we haven’t moved. The USPS, UPS, Fed Ex & DHL drivers know how to find us – except during the holidays when they hire extra drivers. Sigh. . .

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