South Jamesport’s tiny U.S. post office, which currently has just 246 mailboxes and makes no deliveries, was closed early Friday because of a foul odor — possibly caused by an ill or injured animal that sought refuge under the building before dying, an official said.
“Apparently, one of God’s creatures crawled underneath the building and met his end, and the building stinks,” Maureen P. Marion, a regional U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview.
What creature’s demise forced the closure will not be known until workers rip up the floor, Marion said. The odor may turn out to have been caused by a nest.
Customers will have to get their mail about a mile-and-a-half away at the Jamesport post office until repairs are complete, she said. That could take several days or a week, depending on how much of the floor has to be redone.
The post office opened more than a century ago, and Marion called it “a very small but lovely office.” Images show a gray and white wooden building with a peaked roof. “We have a little pocket of customers that are impacted,” she added.
The number of mailboxes appears little changed from 1966, when, Newsday reported, Postmaster Harry McKasson realized the 165 boxes were too few to serve the new customers arriving. So he ordered 108 more boxes, but his order was missing two crucial components when it arrived.
Resolving to build a new wall instead of trying to get the government to correct the order, McKasson was dismayed to discover the $50 the government allotted him was $25 too little. And this was when his $6,034 yearly salary was partly based on the number of customers he served, which made adding the new boxes even more desirable. A photograph that accompanied the article shows him forging ahead with construction.
Even in 1966, when the South Jamesport post office measured just 18 feet by 24 feet, for a total area of 432 square feet, it was not the nation’s smallest.
That honor belongs to the post office in Ochopee, Florida, the Postal Service says, established in 1953 and measuring a mere 61.3 square feet.