For millions and millions of people across the United States, the thought of “what post office delivers my mail” never even enters their mind.
They just go about their day, popping down to the mailbox or to the post office to check and see if anything has arrived – and then they go about their day-to-day business.
For many there’s just one post office in town, and it’s really obvious which one handles their mail!
For others, though, especially those living in big cities there might be half a dozen or more post offices in their area.
Trying to figure out exactly where their mail is coming from – or where to go pick their mail up – can be a bit of a headache and hassle in those situations.
That’s why we put together this detailed guide.
Below we breakdown (almost) everything you need to know about figuring out which post office is responsible for handling your mail – and more!
Let’s get right into it.
Quick History of the United States Post Office
To understand why there are so many different post offices around the United States (as of 2020 there were 34,451 individual post offices throughout the country) it’s important to run through a quick history of the USPS in general.
The “Post Office” Existed Before the US Did!
Believe it or not, the post office – or at least a version of the postal service – existed even before the United States was a country.
There were always individual mail and letter carrying services throughout the original colonies, but in 1753 Benjamin Franklin took over what was then the colonial mail system.
Recognizing that the colonies needed a much smarter and more efficient system to move mail back and forth, Franklin practically overhauled the system from top to bottom – improving a very primitive courier system into an organization that could move mail between Philadelphia and New York City in 30 hours!
Franklin continued to hone and refine the service over the next 20 or so years. By the time he was involved in the conversations about the American Revolution he knew that the mail would play a huge role in getting communications to different commanders.
In 1775, even before the Declaration of Independence was signed and sent off to King George, Franklin transform the constitutional Post into the Post Office of the United States. This is one of the first initiatives of the new American government even before the nation had won its independence.
The Pony Express Era
Flash forward more than 100 years and you have a nation that is continuously pushing westward, expanding rapidly but also requiring “lifelines” back to civilization along the East Coast.
The USPS (operating unofficially throughout all of the “new states” in America) looked for a way to offer mail delivery services to the most far-flung locales out West – and that’s when they created the Pony Express.
Mounted carriers delivered mail over 1800 mile routes that stretched from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California – and did so in just 10 days!
The Pony Express Era of mail delivery in the United States didn’t last very long, but it was hugely influential in helping the nation push and develop further westward at the pace that it did.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles Change Everything
Trains, planes, and automobiles all had a huge impact on the way that mail was delivered in the United States.
The establishment of the transcontinental railroad (a railroad line that officially stretched from the East Coast to the West Coast with multiple stops along the way) changed mail delivery forever.
Mail and packages would be loaded onto train cars, moved across the transcontinental railroad, and then dropped off at individual “hubs” for further delivery.
Automobiles made the Pony Express all but obsolete, and it wasn’t long after the Wright Brothers invented human flight that the USPS was commissioning airplanes to handle delivery to remote and far-flung areas, too.
The United States Post Office Today
The post office today is made up of more than 34,000 individual post offices, but it relies on the heritage and history of the post office eras that came before it, too.
Most Americans take the post office and what they do for granted (and it’s not hard to see why, the post office and the Postal Service is almost “invisible” in today’s modern world). But it really helped to build this country.
What Post Office Delivers My Mail?
Finding which post office delivers your mail shouldn’t take too terribly much effort.
Your Mail is (Almost) Always Delivered by the Closest Post Office to You
For most people, the post office responsible for handling your mail (either delivering it to you directly at your door or dropping it in your PO Box) is going to be the PO Box closest to your physical street address.
In smaller towns (and even smaller cities) there may only be a single post office for that community.
If that’s the case, that’s your post office!
It won’t be hard to find.
How to Find Local Post Offices
In larger cities (and huge rural areas) finding your post office becomes a little bit more of a challenge.
You could always pop into any of the local post office is in your area directly and asked someone behind the counter if they service your address, but there’s a faster way to knock this process out using technology.
You see, the USPS understands that some people have a tough time finding their post office. So they built a tool that searches your physical street address and then shows you which post office your mail will be coming through.
Just navigate to the following address – https://tools.usps.com/find-location.htm – and input your location data.
The tool will then search for post office is in your area (you can search from a single mile out to 100 miles away) so that you can better zero in on the post office you’ll call “home”.
Package Delivery and Tracking Info is a Big Help
Of course, another easy way to track down which post office is responsible for handling your mail is to simply check your tracking information on any recent package to see which post office handled it last.
The last post office before the “out for delivery/delivered” message is always going to be the post office that handles your mail locally. This keeps things really simple!
Tracking Shows a Different Post Office Handling My Package – Why Is That?
Sometimes, though, tracking information may show a different post office handling your package than the one that normally handles mail for you.
This happens every now and again for a couple of different reasons, the most common being that a package is coming from a third-party shipping partner – like FedEx or UPS, for example – and is being handed off to a local post office to handle final delivery.
In the circumstances you may not necessarily be dealing with a package coming from your “home” post office at all.
Instead, FedEx and UPS (or the third party service being used to deliver your package 90% of the way) will choose a post office that they work with regularly to handle the “last mile” delivery.
Again, this really doesn’t happen all that often. But it will happen every now and again – and it can cause quite a bit of confusion people are used to having one post office handle all of their mail and packages on a regular basis and then a new one shows up in their tracking.
Just know that this doesn’t mean that your “home” post office has changed at all. It’s usually just a one-off kind of thing. Things will go back to normal for the rest of your mail and packages!
Can I Pick the Post Office That Handles My Mail?
A lot of people wonder if they can pick a post office to handle their mail, especially if they have a couple of different post office is in their local area – or they have a post office closer to home or work that makes more sense for them.
Typically you are going to have very little say over the post office that handles your mail. That’s something set and determined by the folks at USPS.
It’s not like you can request to have your mail handled by a different post office. This isn’t the kind of accommodation the post office is set to make.
That’s not to say that you don’t have some control over which post office handles your mail, though.
Setup a PO Box with a Post Office Closer to Your Home/Office
Let’s say, for example, that you have a post office in the town your home is in – but it’s clear across town, out of the way, and a bit of a headache to go to on a regular basis.
At the same, there’s a post office in another town that you work in that is directly across from your office (or right along your commute route).
Millions of people have this exact kind of scenario playing out for them on a daily basis, and many of them choose to set up a PO Box with a post office that is closer to home or the office to handle their mail more conveniently.
Sure, this is a bit of an unorthodox approach to managing your mailbox. But it can save you a ton of time, a ton of headache, and a ton of hassle that going way out of your way to the post office chosen for you brings to the table.
It’s something to consider for sure.
Use Alternative Mailing Solutions to the USPS System
You could also decide to skip the post office altogether and have a third party, alternative mailbox service at as your “home address”, too!
There are a lot of different services like this popping up all the time. Some of them not only offer mailbox options but a whole host of other services too – including check depositing, mail forwarding, package acceptance and more!
You obviously need to make sure that you are only ever working with a service you can trust when you go outside the post office, tough.
It’s never a good idea to hand over the control of your mail – something really important something that should stay safe, secure, and private – to a company you don’t have full confidence in.
For this reason it’s hugely important to vet and verify that the company you’re going to trust with your mail is on the up and up. They should have a long track record in the business, a history of security and safety – not to mention privacy for their customers – and a mountain of reviews and testimonials that are glowingly positive.
US Global Mail – A Brand New Way to Manage Your Mailbox
If you’re interested in a new alternative to the USPS, and want to choose a mailing service that has a solid gold reputation over more than 20 years, there’s no better option than US Global Mail.
Trusted by thousands of people all over the country (and thousands more overseas), US Global Mail is the industry leader when it comes to virtual mailbox services.
Not only do they provide a permanent street address that offers better security and privacy than a traditional address, US Global Mail customers will also get:
- Full package acceptance from all of the major mail and shipping companies, including the ones that the USPS won’t accept
- Mail forwarding services to almost any address on the planet, all at up to 80% off traditional retail prices
- Instant check depositing options
- Mail scanning and digitizing in real time, letting customers know exactly what hits their mailbox and when
…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
If you’re interested in modernizing your mailbox with a dedicated service you can trust, one with more than two decades of history to draw on, and a company that keeps innovating all the time, you’ll want to check out the US Global Mail website for more details right now!