Stamp Club aids historic landmark
The Batsto Citizens Committee Inc., Wharton State Forest and the Merchantville Stamp Club announce the opening of the historic Batsto post office on Saturdays beginning this weekend. The post office, is one of the four oldest post offices currently operating in the US, first opened in 1852 and is one of only four in the U.S. authorized to operate without a ZIP code. It’ll be open on Saturdays throughout the year.
The stamp club will share the history and operation of the building. Pre-stamped mail brought by visitors to the site will be hand-canceled by club members and forwarded for further processing by the U.S. Postal Service.
The Post Office closed in 1870 when the local economy failed. It re-opened in the 1880s. closed again in 1911, and was re-opened by the Batsto Citizens Committee in 1966. As a historical structure, it was never assigned a zip code. All stamps are hand-canceled. Staff at Wharton State Forest are working with the Postal Service to develop special cancellations to commemorate Batsto events throughout the year. Tours of the Batsto mansion, home of the Richards family for more than 90 years and later owned by Joseph Wharton, also will begin Saturday. Tours will be conducted at 12:30 and 2 p.m. Historic Batsto Village is about 7 miles east of Hammonton on Route 542. For information, call (609) 561-0024 or visit www.batstovillage.org.