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Who Knew Zip Codes Were So Cool?

Postmaster General and CEO John E. Potter, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear attend the U.S. Postal Service and the Muppets ‘Letters To Santa’ kick off at the James A. Farley Post Office. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The US Postal Service has been taking a lot of flack lately for their financial losses. There was even talk about abolishing Saturday delivery. Over the years the postal service has come up with all kinds of ways to improve service at reasonable costs. Flat Rate boxes and envelopes have helped me control shipping costs for my book orders. Forever stamps are good regardless of rate increases.

History of the Zip Code

The Zone Improvement Plan, first introduced in 1963, consisted of five numbers that designated a geographical location for mail delivery within the US or military bases around the world. The first zip codes date back as far as 1943 and were only used in large metropolitan cities and were two digits that defined a specific postal branch within the city.

In the 1980’s Zip+4 was added to designate a more specific address within a particular zip code.

Some Zip Code Trivia

  • Each Christmas children send letters to “Santa Claus, North Pole, 12345.” Where are these letters delivered? To General Electric world headquarters in Schenectady, NY.
  • Due to the amounts of mail the US Forest Service was receiving back in 1964, the postal service decided to give Smokey Bear his own zip code — 20252.
  • Before it’s destruction on September 11, 2001, the zip code for the World Trade Center Complex in New York City was 10048.
  • Need an easy zip code to remember? You could move to Newton Falls, Ohio where the zip code is a very memorable 44444. Or, Young America, MN 55555, or Arlington, VA 22222.
  • Wayne, New Jersey (07470) and Andover, MA (01810) share palindromic zip codes. They are the same written forward or backward. In the case of Andover you could also write it upside down.
  • Natural disasters generate zip codes. Victims of Hurricane Katrina who were temporarily housed in the Huston Astrodome used zip code 77230. It’s still in use today as a PO Box.
  • The White House zip code is 20500 for all public mail. However, the first family has a super secret zip code to receive their family and private mail.
  • What the postal service gives it can also take away. Zip Code 17927 was revoked by the postal service in 1992. Why you ask? Not much mail goes to an underground mine fire that has been burning for over 40 years.
  • For all you geometry fans out there the zip code for Savannah, Georgia is 31415. (Pi 3.145)
  • Computer programmers should all live in Brimfield, MA where they could use the very familiar zip (computer) code of 01010.

Some Final Thoughts

If you don’t know a zip code don’t worry. The postal service will add it to your mail for you. Or you can quickly look it up on the US Postal Service Web Site. Or, you can just send a text or email. It might be quicker and cheaper. Are zip phone codes next??

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