Now that’s Smarts(ville)
Sun News Service
SMARTSVILLE “-Smartsville officially retrieved its second ‘s’ from the maw of bureaucracy last fall, but there was something about getting that ‘s’ up on the sign of the town Post Office on Wednesday that made it real.
U.S. Postal Service employee Scott Stirnaman made the shiny, burnished letter, which was affixed in its proper place to the upper wall of the Post Office.
Smartsville, ZIP code 95977, is just one of many towns in the United States that are getting back their historic names, said resident Kit Burton, who helped lead the campaign to correct the town’s appellation.
“It all started with the Post Office,” Burton said. “That’s the federal agency that changed the name on us 100 years ago, in 1909.”
“They were trying to reform the names of post offices,” Burton explained. “The mail was not getting delivered properly because so many different post offices throughout the country have identical names, and there were no ZIP codes at that time.
“Then they just kept on changing names, even if there was no problem with uniqueness, because they thought it would be somehow better or more efficient,” Burton said.
For the same reasons, the Postal Service also tried to get the town of Rough and Ready to change its name to either Rough or Ready, Burton alleged.
“Towns like Skagway, Alaska, ended up with names changed, and slowly throughout the U.S., towns are getting their names back,” Burton said.
For 100 years, townspeople have chafed at the change made without their consent by faceless bureaucrats to alter their identity. The effort to right that wrong, Burton said, “has brought the townspeople much closer together.”
Smartsville residents will host their annual Pioneer Day celebration on Saturday, April 25. Watch for more information in future editions of The Union.