Today is the Golden Anniversary of the Zip Code.
Fifty years ago was the beginning of something most Americans today find surprising…government worked. Instituting a simple 5-digit code for the 46,000+ communities in the United States meant the United States Postal Service didn’t have to guess where a letter was going if, for instance, someone addressed a letter to “Chapel Hill” and forgot to add the state.
Fifty-one years ago it would have been a problem. There are 26 Chapel Hills in the country; 4 in Alabama, alone. Simply adding 27514 meant the letter would be headed to Chapel Hill, NC…the one in Orange County (There’s also one in Madison County, NC).
Zip codes are the basis of the nation’s 911 system.
Zip Code 17325 means Gettysburg, PA…not Gettysburg, SD, Gettysburg, OH or Gettysburg, MD.
As interesting as the anniversary of the Zip Code might be it is far overshadowed by the sesquicentennial—150th Anniversary—of The Battle of Gettysburg. Starting on July 1, 1863, the battle caused the largest number of casualties of any conflict during the war. Approximately 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. Each side had more men killed than people lost in the 9/11 terrorists attacks. The Battle of Gettysburg is often considered the turning point in The Civil War.