Two Utah post offices are among the 10 smallest full-service offices in the nation, California postal officials announced Wednesday afternoon.
Post offices in Hatch, Garfield County, and in Hanna, Duchesne County, were among the top 10 picked from more than 200 entries in the "Smallest Post Office Challenge" sponsored by the Postal Service's Oakland Division, communications specialist Joann Whitfield said.Tied for first place in the competition were post offices in Ochopee, Fla., Salvo, N.C., and Bird's Landing, Calif.
Communications Manager Dan DeMiglio said he thought up the contest idea after writing about the division's smallest full-service post office at Bird's Landing in a postal service employee magazine.
"It is a forgotten piece of Americana. There are lot of dedicated men and women who work in these post offices. These small towns love their postmaster and post office. I wanted to give them a pat on the back."
While the postal service has more than 100 post offices that are smaller in actual square feet than the Bird's Landing office, DeMiglio said only full-service offices qualified for the contest.
To have qualified the office must have its own zip code, have a postmaster, be open a certain number of hours a week, have limited square footage and be located in a free-standing structure.
According to Hatch Postmaster Iva Dell Yardley, her post office, located about 15 miles south of Panguitch, has 120 square feet, has 10 post office boxes and serves a town with about 150 people.
Using DeMiglio's scoring system, Hatch was docked points because it shares a common wall with a local market. Hatch's post office also offers service through a dutch door in the wall during the store's business hours.
"It is pretty tight. I can sit on my chair and reach just about everything," Yardley said."It's one of the last post offices to still have bars" on the cashier's window.
The post office is a popular stop off for Bryce Canyon National Park visitors, especially to a growing number of foreigners. The park is located about 25 miles away.
Yardley, who has been there three years, says she sells more airmail stamps at her post office than anything else.
The Hanna Post Office serves a population of 200 and has 150 square feet, Whitfield said.
Since the contest began, DeMiglio said, it has become a full-time job to answer calls nominating their hometown post offices. Wire services and Cable News Network carried the story.
"We got one call from a man in Key Largo, Fla. nominating his hometown post office in Washington state," DeMiligio said.
Bird's Landing post office has 140 square feet, the town has 24 residents and it has 50 post office boxes. Ochopee only has 61 interior square feet and serves about 200 people.
The Park Valley, Box Elder County, post office was knocked out of the competition because it is only open part-time.
Park Valley's post office is a well-kept white frame building that sits along U-30 about 35 miles southwest of Snowville. The building, complete with flagpole, has only 144 square feet inside. The town has a population of 70.
Nominations were received for places like Cut and Shoot, Texas; Small, Ky.; Binge, Wash.; Remote, Ore.; Flat, Alaska, and Blue, Ariz.
The winners of the contest will receive plaques and split a $25 prize.