HISTORY OF THE ROCKY GAP POST OFFICE
This report was written by Mrs. Nannie Rose Tiller, a former postmaster.
The first post office in Rocky Gap, Virginia was established January 29, 1866. The first postmaster was Elias Stowers. The post office was located on the second floor of the Conley Store, which is beside the old bank building. The location of the post office was determined by which political party the President of the United States was a member. If the President was a Democrat, the post office was located above the Conley Store. If the President was a Republican, the post office was located in half of the Honaker Store, which is still standing next to Howard's Store.
On New Year Eve of 1958, the Rocky Gap Post Office was moved to Main Street in a building owned by the Masonic Lodge of Rocky Gap. This is the current location.
The first mail was delivered to Rocky Gap by train from Narrows, Virginia. Clear Fork and Wolf Creek were the only routes for the Rocky Gap Post Office at this time. They were both star routes, meaning no catalogs, packages, or mail order applications were delivered. People rode horses to deliver the mail and were often faced with the problem of no bridges. Dry Fork and Laurel Fork had no mail carrier and residents had to walk to the post office. In the early 1950's, they petitioned for a star route, which soon after, they were granted. After the train stopped running, the mail was delivered star route from Wytheville, Virginia.
The postmaster was very busy because of the amount of mail being sent every day. First class mail was sent in protective trays, so as not to be damaged. Second class mail was sent in bags, and so on.
To mail a letter to someone cost three cents, but only if it had to be delivered. A drop letter, which is a letter picked up by the receiver at the post office, cost only one cent. Now, postage is thirty two cents per letter, which has caused the amount of mail to decrease greatly.
The zip code was invented in approximately 1975, which helped speed up the delivery of mail. It also made the separation of mail easier, which gave the postmaster more time for other work.
The Rocky Gap Post Office had twenty one boxes when it was first established. The boxes cost twenty five cents per month, or three dollars yearly. The post office served only three hundred people at this time.
The pay for the postmaster was based upon how many stamps they sold. The postmaster also had to buy everything they needed for the office; a safe, pens, pencils, paper, etc. The government only paid for the boxes used in the post office.
The post office was open seven days a week and eight hours per day. The postmaster was required to take a one half hour break during each day. No one was allowed behind the counter unless the postmaster was present.
The Rocky Gap Post Office now has over three hundred boxes which cost ten dollars per month, or one hundred dollars yearly. The government now pays for anything needed in the post office, no matter what the item is or the cost. The post office is opened six and one half days per week. The daily break is still required.
The Rocky Gap Post Office is now serving more than three thousand people
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