What we collect!
Stamporama Discussion Board Logo
For People Who Love To Talk About Stamps


73 visitors online

United States/Covers & Postmarks : In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

AuthorPostings
BenFranklin1902
Members Picture
Tom in Exton, PA
28 Oct 2017
07:39:19pm

Auctions
I usually work from home on Fridays but was in the office this week because we had a consultant in on a project. He left at noon, but I thought I'd wrap up a few things, for an hour.... and one thing led to another so I finally got out of there at 3pm. Note that I keep the a manila envelope of stamped envelopes in my car glove box so I'm always ready to go. Once in the car my first thought was that on my last romp, I had missed out on the Princeton branch office "Palmer Square". I had actually been to the parking lot and realized I missed the closing time by minutes! So I knew where it was and it was only a 15 minute ride from the office. I was tired from a long week so I was going for this ONE postmark. Yea right!

You may remember from my previous posts that I had gone to what I thought would be the Carnegie Center Branch of Princeton, only to find it was now the main Princeton post office. Note that this is in an a suburban office park off of Route One. I was a bit surprised since I remember the Princeton post office being in the center of town, back when I went to the "Washington At Princeton" stamp First day in 1977. So yea, that was back in the last century.

Image Not Found

So this was the cover from Carnegie Center, just plain old Princeton, but a nice strike on my cover. The nice lady there told me the other office in Princeton was indeed downtown, the "Palmer Square" branch. So it only took me eight months to finally get the postmark!

Image Not Found
While downtown Princeton oozes with historical character, the post office doesn't. It's in a modern one story building. Actually the back half of a modern building behind a convenience store, and down an alley at that! The postal clerk there was happy to give me a cancel. You could tell this wasn't his first rodeo since he laid out the perfect cancel!

With that pleasant experience, I was excited and it was only 3:30. What further damage could I do to my cover list? My preplanned trips, also in my glove box, told me that I should pursue Trenton postmarks because they were on my way home. So off we went towards the state capitol!

Ah, some of the most common postmarked covers come from Trenton, the capitol of New Jersey. In fact when I search eBay for postmarks, I generally search (nj,n.j.,jersey) -trenton -camden -paterson -newark -"jersey city" -"atlantic city" which will take the search down to about half the inventory on eBay!

Image Not Found

Bonus Cover! One of the reasons Trenton cancellations are common is because not only is it a larger city and the state capitol, but it's also the regional sorting center to this day. This cover illustrates a first day cover that I mailed from Princeton in 1977 that went through that center, and the numbnuts added a second cancel anyway! And the Trenton sorting center was the one where the anthrax scare was many years ago. Final bit of trivia... it's not really in Trenton... it's in the suburbs of Hamilton.

I had so far avoided collecting the Trenton branches. But now as I had already collected all of the suburbs, this was what was left! As with most old cities, there is the business center, and then various types of neighborhoods, right down to those you wouldn't want to go into. So we had no idea what to expect!

Image Not Found
My first destination was Circle Branch of Trenton. It was listed as Brunswick Avenue, Trenton but I was pleased to find it was in the suburbs, right on Business Route One, which must be called Brunswick Avenue in that area. It wasn't in Trenton at all, but in Lawrence Township a few blocks from my friend's house. In fact, this would be the post office he would use. The clerk I approached was confused as to what I was seeking and told me I had to mail anything she cancelled. She sought the advise of a second clerk who was happy to cancel my pink post card. I have prepared covers and cards of some variety to add interest to my collection. Mission accomplished.

I stopped for gas and found the cheapest gas I've seen in New Jersey. Regular for $2.249! That's so much cheaper than the gas in Pennsylvania and in NJ they still have attendants who pump the gas for you! So while the gas was pumping itself, I set the GPS for the Independence Branch of Trenton. The Waze program sprang to life and directed me in the opposite direction of Trenton. In fact it wanted me to get on Interstate 295, so I thought it had malfunctioned and I aborted that mission!

My research today tells me that Waze was absolutely correct! The Independence branch isn't in Trenton at all... it's way out in a suburban shopping center in Hamilton! On the corner where three roads meet... Route 202 also called South Broad Street, which is the address I plugged in, Independence Ave and get this... Interstate 295! Argh! We will return another day.

Which leads me into my Hamilton rant. Hamilton is one of the largest suburbs in New Jersey and would you believe... it has NO post office identity! When I went searching for the Hamilton post office out on Route 33, I found the Trenton Main Post Office and the regional sorting center building...

Image Not Found

So we had that disappointing experience back on our May 6 road trip, and reported here in that posting. And why not one more bonus cover...

Image Not Found

Here's another cover from the Trenton regional sorting center. It's a rare "Nixie Clerk" cancel. The Nixie clerk is the person who would research mail with bad addresses. Back in 2007 that person was a friend of mine who mailed out our model car club newsletters from work, cancelling them himself. I still know Ed but he's long retired.

Image Not Found

And another bonus cover! As close as Hamilton has come to having postal identify was the Hamilton Square post office. This office was independent through 1944, when it became a branch of Trenton. In my old post office directory it shows as a current office, but I couldn't find any trace of it today. So that's my Hamilton rant.

And back to our story.. I then set my GPS for the Trenton Villa Park branch. The Waze program took me into the right direction, right into the heart of Trenton.
Image Not Found

I found Hamilton Avenue. Villa Park is a section of Trenton with well kept old city houses in an ethnically mixed middle class area of tree lined streets. I parked my car on the street about a block away from the post office and people in the street said hello as they passed me.

Image Not Found

My cover was quickly cancelled by the smiling red headed clerk and I was on my way once again. This was around 4pm at this point.

Image Not Found

The Villa Park Post Office

The Waze program was once again employed. On the list of Post Office, Trenton, it indicated a branch called "ALY" or simply Post Office Aly. I got a bit apprehensive as the roads led to deep in the hood. The program told me to make the final right turn, which was down an alley. I hesitated as I saw a group of people who looked like there may have been a drug deal in progress and turned into a parking lot where I looked around for a post office from my locked car. I then turned to Google Street View to confirm that indeed there was no post office there at all. Just an alley named "Post Office Aly" as if a post office may have existed there in the distant past. Today there was only urban decay.

I noticed it was 4:20pm and the USPS web app I was using indicated that all the post offices closed at 4:30pm. I took a quick look at the Downtown Branch, but found it was too far away to make it before closing time. So I pointed the PT Cruiser towards the highway and onward to home in Pennsylvania!

So Friday's jaunt yielded me three fresh post marks for the collection and a bit of education. Of the seven Trenton post offices, only TWO are actually in Trenton. And as of today I own four of those. The remaining three are for another day. I still need to visit the Downtown office on South Montgomery Street in the state capitol business district near the capitol building, the before mentioned Independence Branch in Hamilton and the West Trenton Branch, which is actually in Ewing Township. So we look forward to our next opportunity. It wouldn't be fun if it was all done!

Hope you enjoyed this week's adventure!


Like 
4 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
smaier
Members Picture
Sally
28 Oct 2017
08:19:16pm
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Enjoyed your day's saga - sounds like it went better than the last one (as far as postal clerk cooperation).

Thumbs Up

Like
Login to Like
this post
BenFranklin1902
Members Picture
Tom in Exton, PA
29 Oct 2017
09:55:11am

Auctions
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Thanks Sally!

And I thought I'd mention that Friday's work has got me up to 657 unique town cancels for the New Jersey Project!



Like
Login to Like
this post
musicman
Members Picture
29 Oct 2017
11:04:14am
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Great stuff, Tom/Ben!


I love reading about these treks you take.

Like
Login to Like
this post
BenFranklin1902
Members Picture
Tom in Exton, PA
22 Nov 2017
07:14:48pm

Auctions
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. I was one of the poor fools who went into work today. One of those days where so few people reported in, that I got there right at 8am and still parked in the first row. At least we bugged out early. We worked through 1pm and headed for home. I saw this as the opportunity to finish up the Trenton area that started this thread.

You may recall (or read my first post in this thread) that I didn't believe my GPS when it wanted to send me west to the Independence Station of Trenton. Well, once home I researched and discovered that yes, it's actually nowhere near Trenton, but in nearby Hamilton, NJ. So that became our first stop today. Knowing where it was, and having actually seen the area on Google Street View, I had no problem finding it this time. And it's a good thing we have such aids today, the post office is literally on the back side of a shopping center. If someone told you the post office was in that shopping center you could drive in and out without ever seeing it!

Image Not Found

Upon my arrival I discovered that this was also considered "Station C". With the name of Independence, I decided to use an envelope with the American Flag stamp. The nice lady questioned my intent, so I produced my handy regulation document. Once that was settled the two ladies there were very nice and gave me this inky cancel. We chatted a bit about my collection and travels. They were very interested and questioned if I had different towns, all of which I did since the Trenton branches are the last offices I needed in that area. A pleasant stop.

Image Not Found

Of the two other offices (a simple goal) I intended to hit today, the USPS AP told me that West Trenton was the closest. Again, West Trenton is not in Trenton at all, but in Ewing Township. On my way there I passed the Trenton Country Club with a sprawling golf course, something you don't think of in the state capitol, which is a city. Yes, we were out in the burbs. The nice lady didn't question, just gave me this nice modern 4 bar killer cancel. I did take notice that this is a self inking device.

I do have a big stash of colored card stock and I have cut a mess of it in different colors into standard size post cards. So here's the light blue card.

With our suburban stations out of the way, we headed back towards Trenton in search of the Downtown Station. Last month the GPS sent me on a wild goose chase that left me past the closing time of the office so we abandoned the search. Since then we walked the streets on Google Street View so we knew we were looking for a modern stone striped building.

Again the wild goose chase ensued. We input the address of "20 Montgomery Street, Trenton" into the Waze GPS program. It directed us off the main road into this little historic district that looked untouched since the 1800s. Little brick row houses lined the narrow cobblestone streets. I had my doubts we were headed the right way, but the ride was interesting. Once on Montgomery Street, it led us into this dead end circle with an 1890s statue. Magnificent! The GPS triumphantly declared, "You have arrived!" Um, not exactly. I got out of the car and took this photo, although the lighting was poor as the sun was setting.

Image Not Found

I noticed that we were at 100 Montgomery Street and as I headed up the street the numbers were getting higher. I pulled over and plugged "post office" into the Waze program and it actually took us where we needed to be! Apparently Montgomery Street is split at the Assunpink Creek, which traverses through Trenton before it empties into the Delaware River that separates Trenton from Pennsylvania.

Image Not Found

I soon spotted the striped modern building. This is the Downtown Branch, which is literally downtown. This is in the capital district where all of the tall modern buildings and state offices are located, just a few short blocks from the historic row houses. This is also an area of paid parking garages, so I was very happy to see a few street spaces marked "Post Office Only - 15 Minute Parking".

Once inside there was just one patron in front of me, an older black gentleman who picked out three different sheets of commemorative stamps. I approached the clerk for my postmark, and my request was quickly and efficiently handled with an expertly applied "Downtown Station" 4 bar killer cancel.

This office may also qualify as the closest post office to the state border with Pennsylvania. It was only a few blocks from Route 1 and the bridge back to Pennsie, where my home and my beer is located!

Mission accomplished in about an hour and a half, including a McDonalds stop for some quick lunch. No postal clerk obstacles and a pleasant afternoon. Now our Trenton offices, the currently active ones, is complete!

Image Not Found

And since you've all followed this long, here's a historic Trenton cover to close. I imagine this cover back in the days of those cobblestone streets!

That's our final post of the Trenton thread, here on Thanksgiving eve. Tomorrow we will head back to New Jersey to celebrate with relatives. We will stay over at my wife's sister's house in Northern NJ and maybe I will be able to hit a few post offices on Friday or Saturday. A Fantastic Thanksgiving to all of you and your families! Stay tuned!

Like 
7 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
malcolm197
24 Nov 2017
08:13:54am
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

The study of local history and architecture is no doubt an interesting by-product of this exercise

Malcolm

Like
Login to Like
this post
BenFranklin1902
Members Picture
Tom in Exton, PA
08 Dec 2017
12:40:33pm

Auctions
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

And never say it's over! The topic of CPUs... Contract Postal Units, has come up a few times. When I've done my road trips, I've set my USPS app to "Post Offices" because the option that would include CPUs also includes every grocery store that sells books of stamps.

Honestly, I hadn't given it much thought, until it came up in a few different conversations. Then I received this cover in the mail:

Image Not Found

The cover was mailed from Sumter, South Carolina with an eBay purchased cover that the sender had hand cancelled... then I saw it... "BROAD STREET CPU". Aha! A unique postmark, so I must collect these in the New Jersey collection!

That led me to searching the USPS website for CPUs in the areas where I've done my road trips. There were only three in the area around my two work offices that I had already completed. Then I noticed the Robbins Pharmacy CPU on Pennington Road in Ewing, New Jersey. Hey! That sounds familiar!

Image Not Found

A quick look at the map and wouldn't ya know, it's right next to a gas station I frequent! Not even out of my way! So on my way home yesterday I went there. As I expected, it's a one story suburban pharmacy building with it's own parking lot. Once inside I went to the very back corner of this large store and found the little postal window. It appeared popular, as I waited behind a customer and two more queued up behind me.

The window was manned by an older lady who was very happy to cancel my two postcards. If you've read this thread til here, you already know that the post offices in Ewing Township are stations of Trenton, and are marked as such. There is no Ewing, NJ postmark! And this stop proved consistency. The postmark merely says "Trenton, NJ 08638 USPS-CPU". I guess that works since this is the only CPU I could find listed for Trenton. But a little disappointed as I hoped it would be a bit more descriptive. And such is life. So the next time I have to go to my New Brunswick office I will collect the other two area CPUs.

And since we've all become experts on Trenton via this thread I will include some information I just learned. I found the hoard of USPS Postal Bulletins on the USPS website ( http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/welcome.htm ). Within each issue, there is a section under "Organizational Information" called "Address Management", or in some issues "Intelligent Mail and Address Quality", and the chart of "Post Office Changes". This lists any changes such as opening or closing of offices and sometimes info that doesn't affect postmarks like reclassification of an office from Branch Office to Main Office.

Anyhoo, after scanning the bulletins from 2010 to 2017, I discovered a bunch of discontinued NJ offices I still listed as current. So I found that we've lost two Trenton post offices in 2011. Both Chambersburg and Yardville are gone. So I updated these on my master spread sheet. And how about some bonus covers!

Image Not Found

World War II era Trenton slogan cancel for the American Red Cross War Fund. Fort Dix was a branch of Trenton in this period. This is a triple pleasure cover. Nice slogan cancel, military Free franking and censor stamp. I love it and had to include it in the collection!

Image Not Found

And we'll finish up with the New Jersey State Fair temporary station cancellation. I wasn't around in 1953 but they tell me the fair was fun that year!

Be good!

Like 
2 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
smaier
Members Picture
Sally
08 Dec 2017
05:03:05pm
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Regarding the State Fair cover: what do the letters between the bars mean?

Thanks for sharing another story about your New Jersey project Thumbs Up

Like
Login to Like
this post
BenFranklin1902
Members Picture
Tom in Exton, PA
09 Dec 2017
08:19:45am

Auctions
re: In Search of Trenton, New Jersey

Thanks Sally. I don't know what the PTS between the bars stands for! Maybe "Postal Temporary Station", since this appears to be a cancel applied at the State Fair every year.

And per my rant on the value of covers in another thread... I got this one either free as a donation from someone or cheap in a large lot. A dealer on eBay has another year of this cancel for $20.

Like
Login to Like
this post
        
Please Note:
Postings that were loaded from the old Discussion Board cannot be edited.

Contact Webmaster | Visitors Online | Unsubscribe Emails


This site is provided by Roy Lingen at www.buckacover.com

User Agreement

Copyright © 2019 Stamporama.com