Post Office

A post office, historically also a posthouse, is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail, such as letters, small packages, and usually money.

Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of mail and sale of postage stamps, post office boxes, and sale of packaging and stationery. In addition, some post offices offer non-postal services such as passport applications and other government forms, car tax purchase, money orders, and banking services.

A post office may have a main customer service and point of sale area. Many postal codes or ZIP codes route an item to a specific post office; some correspond to a specific route or even delivery point (business, residence, or post office box).

In a "sorting office" or "delivery office", mail is sorted or processed for delivery. Large open spaces for sorting mail are also sometimes known as a sorting hall or postal hall. Over time, sophisticated mail sorting and delivery equipment has been developed, including Mail Rail.


In Commonwealth countries, many of the larger post office buildings in capital cities used the official title of General Post Office. In parts of Europe, special Postal censorship offices were known as Cabinets Noirs.

After 1900, dedicated mail exchange facilities became common and postal services colocated customer services with businesses such as newsagents or railway stations for the convenience of customers and to cut costs. As a result, many purpose-built post offices became redundant and either fell into disuse or were adaptively reused; sometimes retaining the title of Post Office prefixed by Old or Former for historical and heritage reasons.

Read more about Post Office:  History, Unstaffed Postal Facilities

Famous quotes containing the words post office, post and/or office:

    A demanding stranger arrived one morning in a small town and asked a boy on the sidewalk of the main street, “Boy, where’s the post office?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Well, then, where might the drugstore be?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “How about a good cheap hotel?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Say, boy, you don’t know much, do you?”
    “No, sir, I sure don’t. But I ain’t lost.”
    William Harmon (b. 1938)

    Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
    The mist in my face,
    When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
    I am nearing the place,
    The power of the night, the press of the storm,
    The post of the foe;
    Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
    Yet the strong man must go:
    Robert Browning (1812–1889)

    No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)