There’s no post office in the town of Moscow, but for a few hours next week, residents will be able to send their mail from the convenience of their own community when a temporary outpost of the U.S. Postal Service sets up shop at the Moscow Town Hall.

The visit is something town officials arranged as part of Moscow’s 200th anniversary celebration, which begins Friday and runs through July 24. The postal service event will take place 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 22.

“The stories I hear are that we’ve made several requests in the past to have our own post office and they were never granted,” said Sheree Brown, chairwoman of the Moscow Celebrates 2016 bicentennial committee. Brown recalled that for many years the town, which once included a U.S. Air Force radar testing site, used stationery that was decorated with the phrase, “Defenders of the East Coast, and still no post office.”

It wasn’t always that way, though, according to First Selectman Donald Beane, who has served on the board since 1979. He said the town had a post office near Wyman Dam before it closed in 1967, largely because of a lack of business.

In the early 1990s, the town asked the U.S. Postal Service to open a post office, but attempts were unsuccessful, Beane said.

“At the time we had the radar station here, and we told them if we had the radar station, we could be a target of enemy attack and we ought to at least have a post office,” he said. “We had quite a bit of fun but didn’t get anywhere with it.”

At the town’s 175th anniversary celebration in 1991, Moscow also set up a special post office station and designed a pictorial postmark, a special stamp that the postal service often commissions for special events or occasions. This year’s postmark was designed by resident Andy Jacques and includes a picture of Wyman Dam and the bicentennial celebration logo.

Stephen Doherty, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Maine, said it’s not unusual for the postal service to issue special pictorial postmarks, which are ink stamps used to cancel out postage stamps when mail is sent, in connection with a special event.

“We do it for all different events — town anniversaries like this, fishing derbies or the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest. It’s kind of a souvenir of the day,” Doherty said.

The special postmarks are used mostly at local post offices, but it’s also not unusual for the postal service to collect mail and cancel the stamps in other places.

The service is free, although there is an application process to request a pictorial cancellation.

Doherty was unable to immediately provide information about the history of the post office in Moscow or what criteria is used to determine whether a community gets a post office when interviewed Wednesday.

“In some instances it seems silly when there’s a post office every half mile, and then in other instances you have a post office that will cover several square miles,” he said. “A lot of it today has to do with economics.”

The post office closest to Moscow is just a few miles away in Bingham, and Beane said he doesn’t field many complaints from residents over the lack of a post office. Instead, he said the pictorial postmark is largely a symbolic gesture.

As residents prepare to celebrate the 200-year history of the town with fireworks, a parade, local history tours and other events scheduled over the 10-day period, they also can send their mail from their own town.

“It’s going to be quite the event,” Beane said. “I think we’re going to be a city for a few days.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.