Rural post office to be stamped out Middleburg facility to close next week NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

January 28, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail ever kept faithful Middleburg residents from their post office.

"Going to the post office was how we found out what was going on in town, who was moving in or out, who was sick, who got married, and things like that," said Maude Rentzel, a Middleburg resident for the past 72 years. "Without the post office, we would never gotten to know the people in town."

But the days for getting a postmark from this rural office are few.

On Feb. 6, Middleburg joins Detour and Linwood as small towns that have lost their post offices for economic reasons.

"Yes, I will miss it. There was a time when I knew everyone out there in town," said Mrs. Rentzel, 85. "I'll miss going to the post office and picking up my mail and talking to my friends."

All three offices -- which date to at least 1887, when there were 73 Carroll post offices in existence -- were slated for closing when the U.S. Postal Service saw that $100,000 a year could be saved.

"A lot of little post offices aren't making enough to pay their way," said Lyle Stutzman, 64, the permanent relief clerk for the Detour post office for the past two years. "There hasn't been a permanent postmaster here for quite some time, and the current officer in charge probably will go back to her permanent office after the office closes."

"I will be out of a job," Mr. Stutzman added.

"The Middleburg post office was used when the Western Maryland Railway brought mail by train," said Rosetta Arnold, 74, who has used the Middleburg Post Office for nearly 50 years.

Millie Simons, a clerk at Keymar who has been working out of the Middleburg post office for the closing, said she has received few complaints about the termination.

"I'm just helping people fill out new address cards and things. There are close to 70 post office boxes here," said Ms. Simons.

"I don't expect a last-minute rush or anything."

Detour and Middleburg residents have to get used to a lot of changes in their postal service, including their new Keymar zip code and a trip to the Keymar post office if they choose not to put a mailbox in front of their property.

"It's a landmark passing," said Becky Carnack, of Carnack Dairy Farms outside Detour. "We get to keep the Detour addresses, so at least we're not wiped completely off the map."

"I know we're a small town, but before this we could at least say we were six houses and a post office," Mrs. Carnack said. "Now we're just the six houses."

Although the Detour office closed only a few days ago, on Jan. 23, Rebecca Carnack, Mrs. Carnack's daughter and owner of the local Village Store, said she has seen a marked change in the town.

"It's real quiet in town now, where you used to see people going in and out of the post office talking to people they haven't seen in a while," said Ms. Carnack, 29. "You go out to get the mail and talk to people. It's just habit, I guess."

"I'm sort of sad to see it go," she said. "But I don't think there was anything we could do about it."

Mrs. Carnack said mailboxes make the town yards unsightly.

"My daughter has five mailboxes on her property because of the three apartments she rents, her home and the store," said Mrs. Carnack. "We all had to put out these mailboxes in our front yards, and it looks messy.

"Why couldn't they bring the mail to our doors?"

Mrs. Arnold said she doesn't mind any of it -- the closing or the mailboxes.

"The mailman comes right by the house now," said Ms. Arnold, who moved to Middleburg from Keymar in 1945. "I'm not going to miss it, at least I don't think I will."

Mrs. Rentzel said she knows she will miss the post office, which has been a part of most of her life.

"I was 13 when I moved here. My husband was born here and we've always known that post office," she said. Her husband, Frank Rentzel, died in 1982.

"I remember when it was housed in a barber shop, a store, on a resident's property and then in his home, up to when it moved to where it is now," Mrs. Rentzel said. "It was always convenient for me, even for reasons other than the mail."

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