The Return of The Local Mail Slot In The ‘Ville
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
One day, many years ago, a Leadville business owner asked me to drop some letters in the mail for him, as I was already headed that way. I gladly scooped up the stack of notes by the door, but looking down at the address on the top letter in the stack, I stopped and turned back to my friend, asking, “Will they really deliver this letter?” I asked holding up the handwritten post.
“Oh yeah, this is Leadville,” he retorted. The address literally read “Joe Fattor, City.” That was it. No address. No city name. No zip code.
“Just be sure you put it in the Local Mail slot at the post office, he’ll get it,” I heard as I headed out the door, toward the PO.
I was new to The Cloud City and this was one of many curiosities that I was discovering in this small mountain town I had come to call home. That was 25 years ago. That was before 9/11. That was back when the 80461 Post Office had a Local Mail slot.
For those who remember, this was the mail slot for letters and such being mailed within the 80461 zip code, which includes Leadville and a large percent of Lake County. It meant that you could drop a letter in that slot and it would more than likely, be delivered the next day. And most importantly for many it would have a “Leadville 80461” postmark stamp on it.
But after the September 11th attacks on the country, many security measures were put into place and one of them was that all mail needed to be received and processed through the Denver post office. That’s right, a letter going from E. 5th Street to W. 2nd Street in Leadville would travel all the way down the mountain, be processed, and then hauled all the way back up the mountain.
It was one of those ridiculous regulations that seemed increasingly wasteful as this federal agency struggled to make ends meet, continually reducing its budget while increasing the cost of a stamp. Leadville locals just got used to the idea that it would take several days to mail a simple letter or card across town.
So in a world that seems to make less and less sense, I am happy to report that the Local Mail slot is back at old 80461! That’s right, common sense has returned in the form of a mail receptacle that will take your Leadville notes, cards and letters, have them processed by a fine, upstanding member of our local community and place your post, responsibly in a mailbox just down the street!
The back story regarding the return of the special Local Mail slot is varied, and talked about only in hushed circles around those high writing table in the post office lobby. Reports of people “leaning in” with good, old-fashioned common sense and reasoning are rampant!
Regardless, the Local Mail slot is back! So pick up that pen and paper, scribe an old-school note or card, and drop it in the special slot located inside the main post office at 130 W. 5th Street in downtown Leadville. Heck, even the price of a stamp recently went down! Will wonders never cease, In The ‘Ville?