One of the smallest post offices in Rockbridge County just got smaller
May 15 was a day Kitty Cash was dreading. That was the Tuesday her hometown of Vesuvius expected to learn whether its post office would have to shut down forever.
Like thousands of Americans in rural areas across the country, Cash relies on her post office not only to send and receive mail, but as a center for her community – a place for neighborly interactions, visits and gatherings. May 15 could have changed all that.
In the fall of 2011, the United States Postal Service declared it would review about 3,700 post offices nationwide and consider some for closure in an effort to reduce costs and debt. The Service is also pushing federal lawmakers to pass legislation that would end mail delivery on Saturdays, reducing the service’s internal costs by a substantial amount. The USPS is a financial hemorrhage for the federal government, and measures are being taken to remedy the problem.
Virginia, like every other state, is full of small, rural communities, most of them unincorporated. While these hamlets may not have a town hall, a courthouse, restaurants or movie theaters, the residents still receive mail, and tiny, single-room post offices are a staple of these communities. To some villages, the post office is all they have.The Vesuvius Post Office was one of two in Rockbridge County considered for closure, out of 11 countywide. Cash, a grandmother with alert eyes set in a wrinkled, tanned face, speaks with a voice jostled by decades of smoking. She was anxiously waiting for the decision from the USPS.