Rockville NE


By the time we got to Rockstock, the post office was closing

June 12, 2011

It's been compared to the "annual hoopla surrounding the uncorking of the famed Beaujolais Nouveau wine in France or the feasting during the sardine run in South Africa." Every year, on the first Saturday of August, thousands of people descend upon the small town of Rockville, Nebraska (pop. 106), for a live music festival called "Rockstock."  It's Nebraska's largest street dance.  And the highlight of the festival?  Lobsters.  Yes, Rockville is "The Lobster Capital of Nebraska." 

It all started back in the mid 1990s, when the Rasmussen brothers, who run a construction company, ordered up a big batch of lobsters for a special celebration.  It's been an annual event ever since.  The festival also features  a cake with the names of everyone in town on it.

The post office in Rockville has been there for 138 years.  According to The Independent, the Postal Service is studying the post office for closure.  Village Board President Harold Jakob, like everyone else in town, doesn't want to see the post office go. "We are basically a rural farming community," he said.  Closing the post office "helps drive a nail in the coffin of your community."

Jakob said he doubted closing a few rural post offices would really save much for the Postal Service.  "The rural post office is not where the problem is," he said. "We are the group of people still using the post office."   Elderly citizens in the town have their prescriptions sent to them at the post office, and the nearest alternate post office is 12 miles away. 

By the way, if you can't make the festival, don't worry.  On any night Tuesday through Sunday, they serve imported Maine lobsters at Jane's Tavern, on Ley Street, just four blocks from the post office.

Photo credits: Post office; lobster sign)

UPDATE: June 21, 2011: Rockville citizens met with Brian Sperry, regional spokesman for USPS, but "It seemed like it was a done deal," said Harold Jakob, Rockville's honorary mayor.  "The biggest point of contention on Monday night was that no numbers were used by USPS," reports NYV-ABC. "Residents wanted to know just how much their office earned and how much it costs to operate, but Sperry said if a proposal to close Rockville is made then and only then will the numbers be released.  Right now, he said everything is premature."

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