Discontinued post office

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Philatelic cover postmarked Officer, Colorado on its last day of service, June 30, 1938. Officer was in eastern Las Animas County, Colorado, near Villegreen.

A discontinued post office or DPO is an American postal term for a post office which has been discontinued.[1][2] Some are in ghost towns, some victims of consolidation of mail service as small post offices are closed or a city expands. The introduction of Rural Free Delivery, RFD, in 1902 led to the closure of many post offices, which peaked in 1901 at 76,945. In the United States, which was mostly rural, mail previously had been picked up in rural areas at small local post offices, home delivery being limited to urban areas until experimentation with rural delivery began in 1890.[3]

Covers, that is letters, wrappers, or postmarks from discontinued post officers are of interest to students of postal history.[4] As one example, in Saguache County, Colorado there are over 50 discontinued post offices.[5][6]


  1. ^ Definition Postmarks.org Archived May 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. accessed February 12, 2011
  2. ^ "Let's spell out some stamp collecting acronyms" article by Rick Miller, part of a Refresher Course on Linns.Com, accessed February 12, 2011
  3. ^ Historian United States Postal Service (May 2007). "Rural Free Delivery" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 9, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2011. The increase in the number of rural delivery routes led to a decrease in the number of small Post Offices. In 1901, the Post Office Department operated the largest number of Post Offices in American history, 76,945. The next year, there were 1,000 fewer Post Offices. Despite a growing population and more mail, the number of Post Offices continued to drop each subsequent year, with the exception of 1947 and 2001.
  4. ^ State Postal History Listings Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. PostalHistory.Com, accessed February 12, 2011
  5. ^ Post offices in Saguache County, Colorado Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Harlan, George (1976). Postmarks and Places. Denver: Golden Bell Press.

Further reading[edit]

Examples of references from the postal history of Colorado:

  • Bauer, William H.; Ozment, James L.; and Willard, John H., Colorado Post Offices, 1859-1989: A Comprehensive Listing of Post Offices, Stations, and Branches, Colorado Railroad Museum (May 1990), hardcover, 280 pages, ISBN 978-0-918654-42-7
  • Helbock, Richard W., A Checklist of Colorado Post Offices 1858-1988
  • Jarrett, David L., Colorado Territorial and Pre-Territorial Postmarks, Collector Club of Chicago (January 1, 1976), hardcover
  • Meschter, Daniel Y., Pre-Territorial Colorado Postal History, La Posta Publications (1994), 91 pages
  • Segerstrom, Kenneth Colorado Illustrated Covers La Posta Publications (1988), paperback, 100 pages