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Collecting Small Town Cancellations

 
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 09/17/2010   4:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add wt1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Just wondering how many collectors specialize in small town postmarks.

Here's a quick story: I've been going through a box given to me years ago of hundreds (perhaps 1000+) of postal stationery cut squares from the 1940's and 1950's, mostly common and with basic standard machine cancels. (Boring, or so I thought.) There were cut squares and then there were oversized cut squares with full machine cancels included. There were even postal card cut squares with full cancels, which are typically not even collectible in that format.

Then I began to see a trend. Most all of the full cancellations were from NY, NJ and PA but from towns I never even heard of. I started to web search the populations of the towns and found a new field of collecting. It seems that many of the cancellations are from towns of minor populations (4000 or less), and still others with populations of 500 or less.

Probably of no monetary value to anyone, but it did open up for me a new field of collecting that gives one an appreciation of many of the small towns that still exist but are often overlooked.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
885 Posts
Posted 07/07/2021   4:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gettinold to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bringing an old thread back to life. Have a couple of postmarks from towns which have never had very large populations. The town in Illinois has never had more than 300 residents and sources online indicate current population is 96. Town in Kansas briefly broke the 300 threshold many years ago and has a current population slightly more than 100. How small is too small before the Post Office closes it's doors?



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Pillar Of The Community
3762 Posts
Posted 07/07/2021   5:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Population isn't the complete measure ... As I recently posted in a thread about a small town in Canada, do remember that these small towns often serve rural patrons outside the village "census counting" limits half way to the next towns in every direction.

Using the July 1920 Postal Guide: Pontoosuc, Illinois (page 684, under Hancock County) had 1 rural route running out of it, and Woodston, Kansas (page 693, under Rooks County) had 2 rural routes out of it. I doubt any of these rural patrons have ever been counted among the village population.

That said, many rural routes were indeed created c1895-1920 by the closing of even smaller offices near them and consolidating their patrons into RFD routes of places like Pontoosuc or Woodston.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
885 Posts
Posted 07/07/2021   6:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gettinold to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John Becker

Thank you for your response. The Postal Guide looks like a useful resource. I found a copy on Amazon to add to my growing library.
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Valued Member
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United States
457 Posts
Posted 07/07/2021   11:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mml1942 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
gettinold:

A complete set of the Official Postal Guides can be found on the Stamp Smarter Library.

See at: https://stampsmarter.org/learning/Home_USPOD.html

Many other useful Post Office publications can be found there.
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Valued Member
United States
494 Posts
Posted 07/08/2021   08:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Morning all,

My grandfather's rfd route servrd primarily patrons in an adjacent county. A post office in another adjacent county served the northern end of our county. The question is not the population of the town but the number of patrons the post office served. Hopefully Joihn B or someone can tell us if this statistic is recorede anywhere.

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9680 Posts
Posted 07/08/2021   09:06 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would add that politics was/is a factor in where post offices were/are established, maintained, and closed.
Don
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