In a political world mired in fights over federal spending and squabbles over Syrian refugees, a North Carolina congressman found a way to make nearly 1,300 households happy:
By ensuring that the U.S. Postal Service affirms one small town’s identity.
In other words, residents of Granite Quarry, N.C. – population 2,951, according to the latest census data – will no longer have to use nearby Salisbury as their home mailing address, a subservience to the federal bureaucracy that has long been a source of confusion. But more about that in a minute.
Granite Quarry, so named because of the local granite deposits, sits halfway between Charlotte and Greensboro, just outside Salisbury, the seat of Rowan County.
Granite Quarry Mayor Bill Feather says the lack of postal recognition as a home mailing address has caused headaches for many residents, including himself. The town has been used as an address on a driver’s license, but Salisbury fills that role on other documents, such as bank accounts, vehicle registrations and home mortgages.
But Granite Quarry as an address can now serve all needs. Locals will still, however, use Salisbury’s 28146 ZIP code, as the Postal Service routes mail through the larger city’s post office three miles away.
Confusion over the town’s name relative to its post office goes back to Granite Quarry’s founding a century ago
It didn’t quite take “an act of Congress,” Feather said. But it didn’t hurt that Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., the local congressman, waded in.
Earlier this year, Hudson pushed the Postal Service for the change after a postal official denied the town’s request. Hudson touted the work as basic constituent service, saying it was necessary to “help folks cut through the red tape that often gets tangled around federal agencies and serve the needs of our community.”
For now, the use of Granite Quarry as an address is optional. Some people may not want to change, Feather said, adding that the mailing address issue “goes back quite a ways.”
Indeed, confusion over the town’s name and its post office began more than a century ago. Granite Quarry was originally named Woodville, established in the late 1800s and recognized by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1901.
But according to town history, freight and mail deliveries to Woodville were a problem because of another town in North Carolina named Woodsides. In 1902, Woodville changed the name of its post office to Granite Quarry – a nod to the local stone-mining industry. Later, Salisbury’s post office handled home delivery for most Granite Quarry residents.
A few years ago, Granite Quarry officials unsuccessfully urged the Postal Service to allow use of the town’s ZIP code – 28072 – for home delivery, not just for post office boxes.
Just as a fish needs to swim, a bird to fly, a deer to run, we need to walk, not in order to survive, but to be happy.
Granite Quarry’s website
Now the decision to use Granite Quarry as a mailing address might not only be a blow to big bureaucracy but also a boon to the town’s bank account and its $2 million budget.
Feather said residents who’d paid property taxes online in recent years might have had their tax dollars sent inadvertently to Salisbury because the county payment system didn’t give a Granite Quarry option.
“We could never identify how much,” the mayor said.
Salisbury finance officials could not verify the tax information “at this time,” said city spokeswoman Linda McElroy. She said Rowan County billed and collected taxes for Salisbury and then sent the money to the city. County tax officials could not be reached for comment.
If the new mailing address does result in more tax revenue, the town could possibly reduce taxes or improve streets or parks, Feather said. Granite Quarry, he said, has some of the nicest parks in the area.
“Just as a fish needs to swim, a bird to fly, a deer to run, we need to walk,” according to the town’s website, “not in order to survive, but to be happy.”