The Appalachian Trail

The Postmark Adventures of Kelvin Kindahl, Part 6


April 24 -- Into West Virginia, I went to White Sulphur Springs, which no longer has a contract "Station A" at the famous Greenbrier Resort. The smallest post office I went to was Saxon, a two-hour-per-day office. Saxon is on a rough country road, not a state highway. Overall, I like West Virginia. It has been more fun to visit post offices here than in any state so far on this trip. Another nice thing is that I've found a four-bar at almost every single West Virginia office I've gone to so far, including the bigger towns.


April 25 -- Stopped at Pax first thing this morning. I camped near here last night and stopped at the PO after hours. Today I can get postmarks. Many towns have signs as you enter town proudly proclaiming some small claim to fame. For Pax, the signs proudly announce that it was home to the "1956 Class B Basketball Champion of West Virginia." The postmaster confirmed that nearby Long Creek no longer has a post office.

At Ameagle, the PO was pretty obvious, attached to a store, but it had no sign at all -- only a "9:00 - 3:00" on the door. I decided to wait the seven minutes remaining before 9 o'clock. The post office in Ameagle, however, is NOT Ameagle. It is the Colcord CPO of Dorothy.

Colcord and Ameagle were both closed in October 1992 and were replaced by the Colcord CPO, which at that time was in Colcord. The Colcord PO closed Oct. 2. The CPO opened the following day. The Ameagle PO apparently remained open until Oct. 17 to "hand out the last of the mail," according to the postmaster. You do learn a lot on these trips.


April 26 -- I learned that Nitro, W.Va., has a history somewhat similar to Oak Ridge, TN. However, Nitro dates from World War I and was built to make more conventional explosives, while Oak Ridge was established for the atomic projects of World War II.


April 28 -- Started the morning in Lexington, Va., home of Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. This is also Stonewall Jackson's and Robert E. Lee's hometown. I asked at the PO if there were any contract stations, specifically if either of the schools had one. They apparently do not.

From Lexington, I went west to Clifton Forge and a couple of nearby smaller towns, then North to Hot Springs and Warm Springs. Hot Springs is the home of the Homestead, a HUGE old resort hotel. The Warm Springs Valley has a feeling of "poshness and old money on vacation" about it - a stark contrast to the gritty industrial cities of Covington and Clifton Forge.


April 29 -- Heading east from the Trail, my first post office was Tyro, a CPO of Roseland. While I was getting my postmarks, a Hispanic man came into the small general store and walked up to the counter with eight packages of rubber gloves to buy. Seven of the eight packages were charged to seven other Hispanic migrant workers from the apple orchard and processing company acoss the street. The man paid cash for his own. He didn't speak a world of English, and the storekeeper spoke no Spanish, but they have a credit system worked out.

Most of today I spent going to small agricultural towns on the Piedmont. Norwood was a particularly small town, with not much going on. The post office is in a house and is open only from 8 to 10 each weekday morning.


April 30 -- More small towns, then into Charlottesville. The Sanatorium CPO is located at Blue Ridge Hospital, run by the University of Virginia. Not sure what kind of a hospital it is now. The post office is in the hospital mail room and open only one hour per day, 8 to 9 a.m. The sign says "Blue Ridge Hospital Post Office." Since I didn't happen to get there during that hour, I have written for postmarks. We'll see if the post office has updated the name from Sanatorium. Blue Ridge Hospital is not far from Jefferson's Monticello, which has a CPO in the gift shop. Since I was there a number of years back, I didn't bother to go there today.

Instead I went into town, to the University classified stations, just off campus from the University of Virginia, and to the contract station on campus. My NZC & POD lists it as Newcomb Hall, but it is now located in the university bookstore, adjacent to, but not in, Newcomb. It had already closed for the day, so I have written to it also, to find out if the post office name has been updated.