Smallest Post Office in the World (1881)
Smallest Post Office in the United States (1898)
Valley Center has the distinction of having two post offices that had the unique designation as ‘The Smallest Post Office in the United States” and “The Smallest Post Office in the World”.
The smallest postal branch in the U.S. measured 40 square feet and operated from 1898 until 1912 at 31928 Lilac Road. It was known as the Lilac branch and served 50 homesteaders along Lilac Road. The postmaster was Kitty Keys. The designation as “smallest post office” was given by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1955. In 2004, the entire building was moved to the Valley Center History Museum where it remains on public display.
A post office facility in the Florida everglades operates today as the smallest post office in the U.S. Located in the town of Ochopee, it measures 56 square feet — considerably larger than Valley Center’s historic postal facility.
“The Smallest Post Office in the World” is a designation given by the U.S. Postal Service to another Valley Center facility that operated from 1881 until 1912. It was 22 square feet and was known as the Moosa branch. It served about 20 homesteaders and was originally located along what is now Old Castle Road and the Castle Creek Country Club property. It was moved one mile east in 1903 to Old Castle Road and Pamoosa Lane.
A 1909 copy of “The Postmasters Advocate”, a monthly newsletter published by the U.S. Postal Service, carries a photo of the facility and the “smallest in the world” headline. The story refers to the post office as a “midget Federal building”. Mail was picked up and delivered three times a week by stagecoach.
Three men served as postmaster of the Moosa branch: Mathew Tomlins, Washington E. Irving, and Isaac Frazee. When the facility was discontinued in 1912, the tiny building was moved onto Frazee’s nearby property. There is no evidence today of the structure.