An interactive map created by Derek Watkins allows us to see the expansion of the U.S. postal system. Watkins (who is not, by the way, a postal historian) took data from the USPS Postmaster Finder to create his map. Click “play” to see new post offices pop up on the map.
Watkins admits the data is not perfect – the Postmaster Finder is incomplete, and he did not incorporate closing dates, but it is nonetheless a way to see the growth of the country. We explored similar themes here at the APRL during a Summer Seminar course on geography and postal history that I had the opportunity to teach together with Robert Dalton Harris, Diane DeBlois, and my fellow blogger David Straight.
Thanks to Marcy Bidney, head of the Donald W. Hamer Map Library at Penn State, for pointing this map out to me.