MOSCOW — The Moscow Town Hall was buzzing with activity Friday morning as residents lined up to stamp and send their mail, stopping to chat with each other or peruse a collection of town memorabilia for sale.

Most don’t consider it an inconvenience to not have a post office in town, but the novelty of a temporary post office set up Friday morning was enough to draw crowds in the town of about 500 people.

“I wish we did have a post office in town,” said resident Olivia Beane, 39, as she stood in line with several envelopes, one she was planning to send to a cousin in California and others she hoped to have stamped to save as mementos. “I wouldn’t say it’s annoying not to, but it would be nice.”

Friday’s temporary post office — a special event for the town’s bicentennial celebration — was unique for Moscow, one of the few towns in Maine that does not have a post office.

There are 439 post offices in the state, and while some urban centers like Augusta and Portland have more than one, in general most of Maine’s 488 municipalities and towns have just one post office, said Stephen Doherty, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in the greater Boston and northern New England districts.

The postal service has no record of Moscow ever having had a post office, although residents recall two different post offices having been in the town at points in its 200-year history. While there are no current efforts to resurrect a post office in town, having one in place for a day was a fun event that helped residents to reflect on the town’s history as part of a larger celebration, they said. At several points during the morning Friday, there was a line for the post office — designated by a single table cluttered with envelopes and stamps in the corner of the Town Hall.

“We’ve managed for a while without one, so I think we can make it,” said resident Norma Stevens, 79, holding on to her stack of envelopes. “I’m glad this turned out well though.”

In 1906, Frank E. Haines, the owner of Haines Lumber Co., started a post office to serve an estimated 250 to 300 residents of the logging community. The post office had four postmasters before it closed in 1931, according to a town history book, Makers of Moscow.

Around the same time as the Deadwater post office closed, Walter L. Perry, owner of the Wyman Dam Store, started a post office to serve a group of about 1,500 people who had settled in an area of town known as Daggettville to work on the construction of the dam.

Perry was the first postmaster of the Wyman Dam post office, located inside the store until 1945, when it moved to the Main Street home of postmaster Verda L. Bell. It was moved twice more and was finally located at the current site of the Trinity Baptist Church before closing in July 1967, according to the town history book.

Over the years there have been efforts to bring back a post office to the town, according to First Selectman Donald Beane. When the Wyman Dam post office initially closed, many residents were forced to pick up or send their mail from the Bingham post office about two miles away, and some even had to change their addresses to say Bingham.

Just before the town’s 175th anniversary in 1991, town officials petitioned the postal service to bring back a post office, but had no luck, according to Beane. In the years since a new 911 system has required all Moscow residents to have Moscow addresses, he said fewer residents are concerned with having an actual post office in town.

However, the town did decide to continue a tradition this year that they started in 1991 by deciding to design a special ink stamp, called a pictorial postmark, to put on their mail during the celebration and invited the postal service to collect mail from the Moscow Town Hall for a few hours Friday.

About halfway through the event postal worker Kayla McKenney said she had received “a bunch” of letters, postcards and envelopes to send out. McKenney, who normally runs the nearby Caratunk post office, open just two hours per day, said turnout in Moscow was better than she had expected.

“We’ve been waiting for a Moscow post office for years, and today was the day,” said Bingham resident Jordan Baker, 51, who made a special trip to Moscow Friday with his mother, Pauline Baker, to send their mail.

Although they could have just as easily visited their own post office, Pauline Baker said she enjoyed coming to Moscow to get a special stamp on her mail, which was destined for Madison, Bingham and Sparks, Nevada.

“It’s a community stamp,” said Baker, 73. “We’ve lived in this area forever, and I know my family would like to have the memento.”

Greg Lidstone, who grew up in Bingham but now lives in Levant, was in town for the day to visit family, and although he didn’t have anything to mail, he bought three postcards and stamps.

“I’ll probably just keep ’em,” he said.

Moscow resident Rachel Tremblay also came up with an idea Friday to generate business for the temporary post office. She was sending a schedule of events from the town’s bicentennial celebration to the Bingham Union Library for posterity. In addition to its post office, Moscow also relies on neighboring Bingham for its library.

“I think it’s a really good idea. Plus if you forgot to get souvenirs, you can pick them up,” said Tremblay, 57, gesturing to the stacks of coffee mugs, memorabilia and sweatshirts that read, “Moscow, Maine: Best Little Town By a Dam Site,” all for sale as part of the 200th anniversary celebration.

“It’s really been steady since we started,” McKenney said, reflecting as residents continued to flood into the Town Hall. “I feel like if we really had a post office here, we’d be busy.”

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.