In March 2005 I visited the
office in the United States
, located in Ochopee, Florida.
That visit was unplanned, and I certainly didn't expect to have a
similar experience anytime soon thereafter. But I did.
In April 2005 I made plans to take my family to San Diego. Plenty of
kid-friendly activities were on the menu (San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld,
Legoland), but nothing stamp-related for me. That changed when I read
about the tiny Dulzura, California post office in the July 11, 2005
issue of Linn's Stamp
Since the post office was located southeast of
just near the Mexican border, I made plans to visit
it during our August vacation.
Simon at the window of the Dulzura, Calif. post office. This picture
shows just about all of the post office "lobby." Another postal patron
stopped by while I was there so I had to step outside, as there wasn't
room for two of us inside.
We made the trek on Monday, August 8, traveling south from San Diego on
California Highway 94. The two lane highway twists and turns as it
climbs the hilly terrain, and after a while with no sign of
civilization I wondered if we were on the right track.
But we rounded a curve and suddenly it was in sight.
The Dulzura post office was established in 1887 along the San
Diego-Campo stagecoach route. Originally part of a general store, the
post office moved into its current circa-1920s building during World
War II. The 182-square feet post office is next to the Dulzura Cafe, on
land leased from the restaurant owners. The cafe was quiet on a Monday
afternoon, having apparently already closed for the day.
One step inside the post office and I was at its only window. I was
promptly greeted by Postmaster Ken Simon, who asked how he could help
me. I explained the nature of my visit, and PM Simon quickly presented
me with a complementary postcard with a sketch of the post office,
which I mailed to myself (see below).
"How did you learn about this post office?," Simon asked me. I told him
I read about it in Linn's
Simon was unaware he had been
recently mentioned in Linn's
but he knew of the newspaper. Years
earlier he worked for the USPS in Illinois, and had mistakenly sold a
number of new stamps before their first day of issue. Linn's
transgression, and Simon learned an important lesson in stamp
Simon was appointed postmaster in May 2005 after Paul Murray,
postmaster since 1993, retired in January. Simon had worked
occasionally at the
Dulzura office over the previous three years, filing in when Murray was
The post office is the base for mail delivered to 268 customers in
Dulzura and nearby Barrett Junction. An additional 199 customers, many
living on rural roads too rugged for mail trucks to travel, pick up
their mail from boxes at the post office.
Postmaster Simon was happy to let us take all the pictures we wanted.
Since the post office sits just a few feet off the highway, it was
necessary to step into the road to take pictures of the front of the
building (like the one below). My wife was concerned she would be
in danger standing in the middle of the highway, but Simon jokingly
assured her the locals
would be considerate enough to honk before hitting her.
outside the Dulzura post office, holding a pane of the American
Advances in Aviation stamps I had just purchased. My son Nathan looks
on with an expression that asks, "Are we done here?"
of the Dulzura Post Office.
Dulzura handstamp (applied upside down) and a San Diego ink-jet wavy
line postmark cancel the Wilma Rudolph postcard rate stamp.