In the tiny village of Angelica, New York, the post office is more than a place to get mail or send packages. There you’ll find the heart of this charming community. It’s where residents meet and greet friends.
So when Angelica’s post office was threatened with closure in the 1980s, resident Pat Kaake came up with a plan to save it. Angelica already had lost its neighborhood school in favor of a modern building a few miles outside of town, and the nearest hospitals were 15 miles away in either direction.
In Pat’s mind, it was paramount to keep a functioning post office. So she turned to the angels for help.
“At Christmas time I would hear on the news about towns named Snow or Bethlehem having celebrations,” says Pat, who had moved to the tiny village from the big city. “I thought it was a wonderful idea, so I said, ‘Why couldn’t we do the same thing with Angelica?'”
Pat, who is an artist, created a postal cancellation design featuring an Angelica angel. Staying true to the nature of her adopted home, she drew her angels in a folksy fashion and submitted her proposal to the U.S. Postal Service. Once approved, the drawing was carved into a postmark cancellation stamp that could be used for one day only.
The postmistress at the time had another idea to make the day even more special—calling the post office Angel Station.
The massive uptick in mail volume saved Angelica’s post office from closure and keeps the doors open today.
Now it’s tradition that on the first Friday in December, folks come to Angelica to mail their Christmas cards. People push through the door with its tinkling entrance bell and find the lobby decked with garlands, pine fronds and lights. A carved wooden angel flies near the ceiling. In the corner, a Christmas tree twinkles. Village supporters sit at tables that are topped with bowls of punch and platters of decorated cookies, offering hot chocolate or coffee to those who are mailing cards.
[pullquote] The massive uptick in mail volume saved Angelica’s post office from closure and keeps the doors open today. [/pullquote]
Each year the volume of mail going through the Angelica Post Office swells during late November and early December. Stamp collectors from around the world have embraced the Angel Station cancellation, some sending mail from as far away as France.
Because the stamp is destroyed each season, Pat draws a new angel that heralds season’s greetings from Angel Station every year. Post offices may close in other parts of the country, but this tiny one endures, thanks to Pat and the miracle of Angel Station.
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