Special Report

Exploring the Oldest Post Offices Across the United States

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Postal service in the United States is older than the country itself. The idea of an organized way to move mail originated in 1774 as a method to get around the nosy colonial inspectors of the British-run postal service during the struggle for American independence. (Today the USPS is one of the big businesses run by the US government.)

In 1775, multipotentialite Founding Father Benjamin Franklin became the first postmaster general, and his eponymous post office on Philadelphia’s Market Street, part of Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park, still offers limited service as a tourist novelty: Postcards sent from there are marked with Postmaster Benjamin Franklin’s cancellation stamp.  

One of the country’s oldest full-service post offices that still operates in its original building is located on Main Street in Hinsdale, in southeastern New Hampshire, dating back to 1816. But it’s not the oldest post office in New Hampshire – that one is located in the port city of Portsmouth. (Today, these are the states with the most post offices per person.)

Very few of the country’s oldest post offices still occupy their original premises, even though some of those buildings still stand. For example, Washington D.C.’s Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue – an example of 19th-century Romanesque Revival architecture that’s on the National Register of Historic Places – operated as a post office only until 1914. In 2016, it was transformed into the Trump International Hotel – though a few months ago, the Trump Organization bowed out and it’s now a Waldorf Astoria.

The oldest U.S. post offices can be put into two historical categories: first, the period during and shortly after the country’s independence up to 1804, and second, the westward expansionary period of the 19th century, mostly between 1820 and 1867. 

24/7 Wall St. used the Postmaster Finder database produced by the USPS to find each state’s first U.S. Post Office within present-day boundaries of the 50 states. The appointment date of the first Postmaster is generally considered to be the establishment date of an office. Where Post Offices originally operated under the authority of another nation — in Hawaii, Vermont, and the original 13 states — the establishment date represents when the U.S. assumed control of the postal system. 

Click here to see the oldest post offices in every state

The oldest surviving post offices, dating back as far as 1775, are located in the original 13 British colonies, which later became 14 states and the District of Columbia. With the exception of locations in Louisiana and Missouri, are all located east of the Mississippi River. The newest of the second group of post offices is located way out west, in Hawaii. It was established in 1900.

Source: anouchka / Getty Images

50. Hawaii
> Oldest post office(s): 42 locations, including Aiea, Eleele, and Ewa Beach
> Date Opened: Jun 14, 1900

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49. Alaska
> Oldest post office(s): Sitka
> Date Opened: Jul 23, 1867

48. South Dakota
> Oldest post office(s): Sioux Falls
> Date Opened: June 24, 1867

47. Montana
> Oldest post office(s): Missoula
> Date Opened: Nov 25, 1862

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46. Idaho
> Oldest post office(s): Lewiston
> Date Opened: Jul 25, 1862

45. Colorado
> Oldest post office(s): Denver and Platteville
> Date Opened: Jan 18, 1859

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44. Arizona
> Oldest post office(s): Prescott
> Date Opened: Nov 11, 1857

43. Oklahoma
> Oldest post office(s): Tishomingo
> Date Opened: Jun 29, 1857

Source: iip-photo-archive / Flickr

42. Nebraska
> Oldest post office(s): Omaha
> Date Opened: May 05, 1854

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41. Nevada
> Oldest post office(s): Genoa
> Date Opened: Dec 10, 1852

40. North Dakota
> Oldest post office(s): Pembina
> Date Opened: May 18, 1850

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39. Wyoming
> Oldest post office(s): Fort Laramie
> Date Opened: Mar 14, 1850

Source: hugo90 / Flickr

38. Washington
> Oldest post office(s): Olympia and Vancouver
> Date Opened: Jan 08, 1850

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37. New Mexico
> Oldest post office(s): Santa Fe
> Date Opened: Oct 01, 1849

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Source: postoffices / Flickr

36. Utah
> Oldest post office(s): Salt Lake City
> Date Opened: January 18, 1849

35. California
> Oldest post office(s): San Francisco
> Date Opened: Nov 9, 1848

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34. Oregon
> Oldest post office(s): Astoria and Oregon City
> Date Opened: Mar 29, 1847

33. Texas
> Oldest post office(s): Galveston
> Date Opened: Apr 08, 1846

32. Minnesota
> Oldest post office(s): Stillwater
> Date Opened: Jan 14, 1846

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31. Kansas
> Oldest post office(s): Fort Scott
> Date Opened: March 3, 1843

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30. Iowa
> Oldest post office(s): Dubuque
> Date Opened: May 27, 1833

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29. Wisconsin
> Oldest post office(s): Prairie Du Chien
> Date Opened: November 13, 1823

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28. Florida
> Oldest post office(s): Saint Augustine
> Date Opened: Jul 20, 1820

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27. Arkansas
> Oldest post office(s): Washington
> Date Opened: Feb 23, 1820

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26. Alabama
> Oldest post office(s): Fort Stoddert and Saint Stephens
> Date Opened: Oct 23, 1804

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25. Louisiana
> Oldest post office(s): New Orleans
> Date Opened: Oct 1, 1804

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24. Missouri
> Oldest post office(s): New Madrid
> Date Opened: Jan 1, 1804

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23. Michigan
> Oldest post office(s): Detroit
> Date Opened: Sep 07, 1802

22. Illinois
> Oldest post office(s): Kaskaskia
> Date Opened: Nov 29, 1799

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21. Mississippi
> Oldest post office(s): Natchez
> Date Opened: Nov 29, 1799

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20. Indiana
> Oldest post office(s): Vincennes
> Date Opened: Jan 1, 1798

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19. Ohio
> Oldest post office(s): Marietta
> Date Opened: May 24, 1794

18. Kentucky
> Oldest post office(s): Danville
> Date Opened: Aug 20, 1792

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17. West Virginia
> Oldest post office(s): Shepherdstown
> Date Opened: Jun 12, 1792

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16. Tennessee
> Oldest post office(s): Rogersville
> Date Opened: January 1, 1792

Source: hstiver / Getty Images

15. Vermont
> Oldest post office(s): 3 locations, including Brattleboro, Rutland, West Bennington, and Windsor
> Date Opened: Around March 1784

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14. Connecticut
> Oldest post office(s): 6 locations, including Fairfield, Hartford, and Middletown
> Date Opened: July 26, 1775

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13. Delaware
> Oldest post office(s): Wilmington and New Castle
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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12. Georgia
> Oldest post office(s): Savannah
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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11. Massachusetts
> Oldest post office(s): 7 locations, including Boston, Ipswitch, and Marblehead
> Date Opened: July 26, 1775

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10. Maine
> Oldest post office(s): Portland
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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9. Maryland
> Oldest post office(s): 7 locations, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Bladensburg
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

8. New Hampshire
> Oldest post office(s): Portsmouth
> Date Opened: July 26, 1775

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7. New Jersey
> Oldest post office(s): 6 locations, including Elizabeth, New Brunswick, and Newark
> Date Opened: July 26, 1775

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6. New York
> Oldest post office(s): Albany and New York
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

5. North Carolina
> Oldest post office(s): 4 locations, including Bath, Edenton, and New Bern
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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4. Pennsylvania
> Oldest post office(s): 4 locations, including Bristol, Chester and Lancaster
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

3. Rhode Island
> Oldest post office(s): 5 locations, including East Greenwich, Newport, and Providence
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

2. South Carolina
> Oldest post office(s): Charleston and Georgetown
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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1. Virginia
> Oldest post office(s): 11 locations, including Dumfries, Fredericksburg, and Hampton
> Date Opened: Jul 26, 1775

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