Hamilton and Wenham – with three post offices combined in the two towns – dodged a bullet this week with the release of a list of post offices slated for closure avoided the North Shore altogether.
Hamilton, with two post offices, has more post offices per capita than almost every other community in the area.
Post office spokesman Dennis Tarmey said the list of possible closures is just the first round of what will likely be many future rounds of post office closures because of the declining use of the post office.
Statewide, 43 post offices were on the list, with 31 in eastern Massachusetts. The closest communities to Hamilton and Wenham with post offices on the list are Chelsea, Haverhill, Lowell and Medford.
“Is there a possibility that others will be closed or considered for closure at a later stage in the process?” said Tarmey, who works at the post office in North Reading. “I would say ‘absolutely yes, that is probably going to happen.’”
Only Boxford - which was used recently for “benchmarking” against Hamilton because of the similar population and demographics – has fewer people per post office. With a 2010 population of 7,921, Boxford has two post offices.
Essex, with a population of just 3,267, has one post office. In terms of other towns with a combined population similar to Hamilton and Wenham, Ipswich – with 12,987 people – has one post office. Lynnfield has 11,542 residents and two post offices.
On the other end of the spectrum, Salem, with a population of 41,240, has just one post office. Danvers, with a population more than double the combined population of Hamilton and Wenham, has two post offices – one is the tiny Hathorne post office that closes for an hour each day for lunch.
In Hamilton, the is on Railroad Avenue, just of Bay Road and the is on Bay Road next to . In Wenham, is on Main Street next to the fire station. All three post offices lie along a two mile stretch of Route 1A.
Both the South Hamilton and Wenham post offices are open Monday through Friday plus Saturday morning, as is the Hamilton post office - but it closes for a lunch hour.
The list of post offices that could be possibly closed “is not a done deal, by any means,” Tarmey said. The U.S. Postal Service will collect input from customers and make a decision about each location within 180 days, he said.Town Post Offices 2010 Population Residents per post office Essex 1 3,504 3,504 Hamilton 2 7,764 3,882 Boxford 2 7,965 3,982 1 4,875 4,875 Manchester-by-the-Sea 1 5,136 5,136 Lynnfield 2 11,596 5,798 Topsfield 1 6,685 6,685 Gloucester 4 28,789 7,197 Middleton 1 8,987 8,987 Beverly 4 39,502 9,875 Ipswich 1 13,175 13,175 Danvers 2 26,493 26,493 Peabody 3 51,251 17,083 1 19,808 19,808 1 41,340 41,340