NAPLES, Fla. – The smallest post office in the United States survived one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded.
Hurricane Irma, which swept through Southwest Florida on Sept. 10, was no match for the 61-square-foot post office in Ochopee, which resumed operations five days later.
“It lost power temporarily and that was it,” said Enola Rice, a spokeswoman for the US Postal Service.
Shannon Mitchell, the post office’s clerk, runs the tiny operation at 38000 U.S. 41 E. She, like many others in the area, lost her home to the ferocious storm.
“It is a total loss,” Rice said. “The water was up to her windowsill.”
Mitchell has since stayed with neighbours but reopened the post office Friday.
Ochopee has one 131-mile mail route that serves more than 900 residents. The mail route covers deliveries in three counties — Monroe, Miami-Dade and Collier — and includes delivery on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation.
The tiny building used to serve as a storage shed for irrigation pipes for a nearby tomato farm but was pressed into service as post office after the Ochopee general store and post office was destroyed in a fire in 1953.
Now it’s a tourist destination, with people travelling to see the nation’s smallest post office and send a piece of mail from USPS site 1842US.
Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com