A Postage Stamp in a Sea of Protected Wetlands

 

The smallest U.S. Post Office

The smallest U.S. Post Office

In the midst of searching for wildlife to photograph in the Everglades, I stumbled across the nation’s smallest post office, measuring exactly 8 feet 4 inches by 7 feet 3 inches (or 61.32 square feet), tucked away along the Tamiami Trail in Ochopee.

Timing was everything, as the mail carrier had just arrived to open up for the day. He told me that a fire had destroyed the previous post office which also held Ochopee’s general store. So, in 1953, the postmaster started using an old irrigation pipe shed, and — 60 years later — it still provides mail service to three counties spanning more than 130 miles.

Sweeping grasslands of the Florida Everglades.

Sweeping grasslands of the Florida Everglades.

Inside this closet of a building, I noticed a display of postcards with a picture of this post office on them. The clerk told me visitors often buy and mail the cards back home because the pictorial cancellation stamp has become such a collector’s item.

The post office is also located near the city of Everglades which provides a scenic backdrop of grassland vistas, where alligators roam freely.

A large adult alligator swims in the open waters of the Everglades

A large adult alligator swims in the open waters of the Everglades.

I thought it quite ironic that the nation’s smallest post office would be located in the country’s largest protected wetland ecosystem.

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