GABRIELS — 12939 is back in action.The zip code, that is.The U.S. Postal Service announced Friday that the Gabriels Post Office and its roughly 164 private mail boxes will reopen in temporary headquarters on Monday.The town lost its Post Office Jan. 30 in an early morning fire.USPS spokeswoman Maureen Marion said everyone in the hamlet will even get the same box number."One thing will be different," she added, "they'll have to stop in and get a key."Postmistress Eileen Leavitt will return — for now to a boxy, temporary quarters on wheels — to sort mail and affix postage.The trailer was delivered at the end of March and gathered an attentive audience as townspeople helped sweep it out and make way for mail bags."It had to be weatherized and buttoned up appropriately," Marion said. "The steps were the last step. They were supposed to come in Wednesday."But they were put in today a few steps from where the old Post Office was."It had been at the same spot on Route 86 for more than 60 years. More than just a place to pick up and drop off mail, the smallish end of the building had become something of a central gathering place.Since the fire, residents have been receiving mail at the Paul Smith's College Post Office."We're placing a notice in everyone's box; the Gabriels Post Office opens Monday at 8 a.m.," Marion said, admitting she too was thrilled.Word about the reopening was just beginning to spread through town midday Friday."So the hootin' and hollerin' hasn't started yet," said Sheila Delarm, a town councilor.Delarm and several others in the tightly knit community lobbied fervently to keep the zip code intact."The Postal Service has been really wonderful," she said. "I think this is an excellent example of what can come from people working well together, irrespective of their politics."As for having the same box numbers, Delarm said, "Wow. That's huge. Think of what that means, on checks, on letterhead,…people won't have to change them.""This has been fun," Marion said.And with the Gabriels mail back in town, the Postal Service is now deciding what to build for a permanent structure."We are looking at our options in terms of making the facility permanent," Marion said."A building's a building, but this is so much more."If the Postal Service wants, Delarm said, the town will host a post office raising when the time comes."We are extremely grateful for all the support we've had with this."
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