Old post offices are hardly noteworthy in New England, but to the rest of the United States, the historic Hinsdale Post Office in Hinsdale, New Hampshire has become something of a tourist attraction and curiosity. It is here, in a town of just more than 4,000 that you can find the oldest continuously operating post office in the United States. The Hinsdale post office has operated continuously in the same building since 1816. There are other post offices in the country that have operated for longer, or are in more spectacular buildings, but none of them have been in the same building for quite as long.
Nathan Babbitt, was the self-appointed first Postmaster of Hinsdale in 1815, and he is responsible for building the post office the following year. He built what was at the time considered a contract postal unit. That is, he built a post office in a corner or a general store and started taking deliveries for the small town. The mail eventually became more important than the general store and the little corner post office took over the entire building little by little.
On August 4, 2016, in the post office’s rain garden at the side of the building, a 200th birthday party was held for the little post office. T-shirts and tote bags to commemorate historic birthday were given out, and a special hand-stamped postal cancellation was used for the day. The bicentennial celebration was also marked with live music and a giant birthday cake.
The rain garden, a project of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Postal Service, was designed to help protect local water sources and has allowed the post office to add more than 500 plants to the garden. Cindy Mason, the 26th postmaster of the Hinsdale Post Office, received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for the installation.
Hinsdale Post Office Facts
- The post office has 700 post-office boxes. The old brass ones are original to the building and date from the early 19th century.
- Hinsdale post office has operated continuously in the same building since 1816.
- The first postmaster of the Hinsdale post office, Nathan Babbitt, was appointed in 1815.
- The post office is not owned by the city. It is actually leased to the city on a long term basis.
- In the early 20th century, the post office survived a fire that destroyed Town Hall next door.
- The address is 13 Main St, Hinsdale, NH 03451.
- New England has the United States’ first post office, the oldest continuously operating post office, and the second oldest continuously operating post office.