Plenty of Minnesota post offices are on the list of 3,700 locations around the country which may be closed. Only in the postal service can a list of possibly doomed post offices and retail sites be called an "expanded service list."
The Minnesota list reads like a who's who of towns few people have heard of before. Darfur, for example: Population 108. Popular lore says the town was named when two Scandinavian railroad men questioned, "why you stop dar fur?" Viewed from Google Earth, Darfur looks like a hundred other small town in Minnesota: A grain elevator, a couple of buildings, one of which is a post office.
Post offices can be more of a social center in small towns, rather than a desperately needed communication tool. When one closes, it's also a signal to a small town that it's time is up.
The irony is the post office is being killed by the Internet, but most of the towns which may lose their post office have little to no decent Internet service.
Here's the Minnesota list of communities whose post offices/retail locations are threatened:
Riverview (Saint Paul)
Seeger Square Finance (Saint Paul)
Butler Quarter (Minneapolis)
Lowry Avenue (Minneapolis)
Civic Center (Duluth)
I feel bad when small towns lose their post offices. I think it makes sense to consolidate post offices in the city to reduce the numbers that need to be shut down in small towns. If they were to close the one near my house, I'd still have 3 or 4 within a quick bike/drive/bus trip from my house. Plus, in the city, you have places like Kinkos and the grocery store that fulfill some of the post office duties, they don't have those in small towns.
as a student, I find it much easier to use the University mail room
There was a local story on Morning Edition a few months back on this very subject. What struck me the most is that rural post offices (in total) account for about 1% of total operating costs for the USPS. I don't live in a rural place, yet I know how vital a post office can be to a town. This seems like one of those things that the government should be doing, as it's not profitable to run a postal outpost in a small town yet it's a community center for that town and critical for many in the community.
My hometown post office closed up over 10 years ago. Population was 79 at the time. First, they took away the building and moved the mailboxes into the back of the town bar. The area had a separate entrance so you didn't actually have to enter the bar to get to the mailboxes. Someone would work at that desk part time. Then eventually that got to be too expensive too and the shut that down and just put in boxes in the building where the volunteer fire department (and where everyone goes to for coffee in the morning). The rural mailman would just fill the boxes on his route and would carry a small supply of stamps and other USPS items in case someone needed to purchase something. They made it work. Most people run to "town" (a larger town 20 minutes away) to get gas or groceries a couple times a week anyway, so they just plan to ship bigger items when they take those trips.
Here's a piece I posted just this morning on Minnesota Prairie Roots about the post office in Hope, south of Owatonna:
I discovered it on Sunday, when my husband and I were on one of our Sunday afternoon drives in rural Minnesota.
The Hope Post Office isn't on today's list. But I recognize many of the towns like Darfur along State Highway 30 in southwestern Minnesota, Wanda (also sw MN), Hanley Falls (also sw MN), Kilkenny...
These towns don't need to lose their post offices, too, (which often really are community meeting places) in addition to all the businesses that have disappeared from small-town Main Street.
I saw that post this morning before I checked the Minnesota list. Then I held my breath hoping Hope wasn't on it.
I also meant to link to your (as usual) excellent post.
Did Elrosa get taken off the list? I know they had a hearing there regarding closing the post office.