07846; Johnsonburger Post Office

May the dear ol’ Johnsonburger Post Office rest in peace. Amelia grieves its loss; traded in for a set of outdoor metal boxes. She feels it is so hard to lose a zip code. Zip code is identity, and identity is so connected to place. To lose your town, your zip code, is to lose a real part of our collective identity.  Does Johnsonburg really exist anymore? Could we not make the argument that the PO and the zip code are in fact historic relic that must be maintained in order to support our historic landmark designation?

But then again, sometimes you just have to let things die off. And I am so sad to think of this little post office as extinct.

When I first arrived here, I would say, “Well I live in Frelinghuysen, but the closest town is Johnsonburg, and my mailing address is Newton, my Post Office Box is in Allamuchy, and my phone is linked to Blairstown which is where the grocery store and gas station is located. To me, a citizen without a Johnonsburg mailbox, I have never really been clear about where I really live anyway. I was even denied a grant in Warren County because my mailing address was Newton. The township model and the “consolidation of place as a cost savings measure” confounds identity and place all the time.

Amelia wants to revisit her first visit to the Johnsonberger Post Office, when she got out of her car shuffling bags, and stopped dead in her tracks because Johnny the Peacock was standing, full tail open, in front of the Post Office door.  Amelia at the bottom of the stairs just staring and wondering, “Is he a friendly peacock?”

It all feels cliche to tell you how this sight made me feel, I have been trying to get it right now for over a week and just cannot nail the sensation accurately. I think when I get it closest it is about being there for the very first time ever, and having just moved a few days earlier, arriving from NYC, in a post 9/11 adjustment/stress and seeking utopia (near Hope and the Land of Make Believe but not residing in either of these literally!). Anyway, I waited for the peacock tail to lower (2-3 minutes that seemed very long), and the peacock went back to what appeared to be cat food. I went in the door and tried to act cool. I figured if the peacock was unusual, the woman at the desk would mention it; if normal, it would go un-discussed.  Johnny went undiscussed.  

But I do wish Stella (little at that time) and I had hopped right on that idea of making a children’s book about the peacock and the post office because now, almost 10 years later, both are history.

We are losing a zip code, and a piece of our collective identity, but we are also losing a “a place to bump into someone” and without a place to bump into people, a lot goes unsaid. I think I am as sad about the loss of the community pin board/announcement place as I am the stamps. In Amelia’s utopia the elected officials add a public bulletin board to their to do list.

Mailboxes only represent a fraction of the things that are lost when a post office closes.

Notes to self:  Trading, stagecoach stop, early farming and milling settlement.
Known in 1753 as Logg Gaol, First Seat of Sussex Co.
New Jersey & National Historic Place designation achieved in 1991.
Location. 40° 57.741′ N, 74° 52.634′ W. Marker is in Johnsonburg, New Jersey, in Warren County. Marker is on Allamuchy Road (County Road 612) 0.1 miles north of Johnsonburg Bypass Road (County Road 519), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is opposite the old cemetery, close by Johnsonburg. Marker is in this post office area: Johnsonburg NJ 07846, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, as the crow flies. Logg Gaol (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yellow Frame Presbyterian Church (approx. 2.5 miles away); The Old Mill (approx. 4.6 miles away); Casper Shafer (approx. 5 miles away); Thomas Woolverton’s Tavern (approx. 5.4 miles away); Fredon (approx. 5.9 miles away); The Lackawanna Cutoff (approx. 6.9 miles away); The Iron Works at Andover (approx. 7.3 miles away).
Regarding Johnsonburg. Warren County was incorporated on November 20, 1824 from portions of Sussex County. Logg Gaol, or Johnsonburg, is in the part that became Warren County.