One of U.S.’s oldest post offices is hidden in an N.J. village that time forgot

SteveBlog On a recent cold winter day, the wind whipped through the woods surrounding a colonial village in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in the Wharton State Forest — a village that time seemed to forget.

It sprung up around the Batsto Iron Works in the late 1700 and was built to last.

One of the enduring features is the post office. It is one of only four in the nation founded before the age of zip codes that continues to function without one. The other three are located in Philadelphia; Williamsburg, Virginia; and Hodgenville, Kentucky.

“We don’t sell postage but you can bring mail or a postcard here and we can cancel it,” said Alicia Bjornson of the state Department of Environmental Protection which administers Batsto, referring to the location stamp on mail when it is processed. Once stamped, parcels are driven 9 miles to a post office in Hammonton to begin the journey to their final destinations.

The one-room post office is staffed by volunteers a dozen times a year, typically during holidays and special events. Officials here say they sometimes get large batches of holiday cards and other parcels with commemorative postage attached waiting to get the iconic “Batsto” stamp affixed to it.

It is located on the second floor of the general store. A vintage potbelly stove sits in the middle. The wooden-planked porch of the general store under it evokes the starting point of a wild-west shootout.  Read more.