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Friday, May 8, 2009

Is 44444 Unique?

“Someone told me that Newton Falls wasn’t the only place to have a single digit zip code. Is that true?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff went directly to the United States Postal Service’s [USPS] website [] to check each single digit zip code and learn more about zip codes.

ZIP stands for Zoning Improvement Code. They began to be used on July 1, 1963 and were introduced by Mr. Zip. The trademark was designed by Harold Wilcox, son of a mailman and a member of the Cunningham and Walsh advertising agency, for use by Chase Manhattan Bank in New York for their bank-by-mail campaign. The first number in the code designates a general area, from zero for the Northeast to nine for the far West. The next two numbers refer to one of the Sectional Center Facilities used for processing the mail. The final two are for smaller post offices or postal delivery zones. The zip codes + 4 were implemented in 1983. The extra numbers help carriers deal efficiently with the many mailers sent out by companies. The USPS website has a great deal of useful and interesting information including about how mail has been delivered by steamboats, rail, Pony Express, air, missile, pneumatic mail tubes, and motorcycles. Two of their most memorable deliveries were the Hope Diamond and a chameleon sent from Fostoria, OH to Orlando, FL. The USPS has strict guidelines on the mailing of valuables and living creatures, so be sure to check their rules and instructions before placing items such as these into the mail.

Newton Falls is the only community to have a single digit zip code. The only other single digit codes are 22222, the Marine Corps Institute in Arlington, Va. and 55555, a post office box for Norwood in Young America, MN. As Young America, MN is often the address on rebate forms, we wondered if perhaps it is for a company. When the city was first given this zip code, it created the slogans Newton Falls has Zip 44444 and Zip City 44444, and the community celebrated Zip Day. We believe that our zip code has been used as both Jeopardy [television show] and Trivial Pursuit [board game] questions. Other interesting zip codes are 12345, General Electric in Schenectady, NY; 23456, Virginia Beach, VA; and 45678, Scottown, OH.

In the summer of 2001, David Rosdeitcher was named the Guinness World Record holder for the most consecutive zip codes identified at random. He can remember all the places connected to the 48,000 zip codes in the United States and many foreign countries [].

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