July 1, 1963 the United States postal five-digit zip code system went into effect. The geographical area of the US was divided into ten broad areas. The first digit of the zip code matches a designated area, ranging from zero for the Northeast to nine for the far west. The next two digits pinpoint population concentrations and centers accessible to transportation networks. The final two digits are designated for small post offices or postal zones in the larger zoned cities. Sound easy enough?
It worked for awhile. But we kept growing. Suburban areas kept expanding out further from the big cities. The system needed modified. Twenty years later, the ZIP+4 code was born. According to http://inventors.about.com/od/xyzstartinventions/a/zipcode.htm:
“Introduced in 1983, the ZIP+4 code added a hyphen and four digits to the existing five-digit ZIP Code. The first five numbers continued to identify an area of the country and delivery office to which mail is directed. The sixth and seventh numbers denote a delivery sector, which may be several blocks, a group of streets, a group of post office boxes, several office buildings, a single high-rise office building, a large apartment building, or a small geographic area. The last two numbers denote a delivery segment, which might be one floor of an office building, one side of a street between intersecting streets, specific departments in a firm, or a group of post office boxes.”
I’ve never celebrated zip code day before. Now wild ideas are running through my brain about how to play around with my 76262 zip code. (Far from Beverly Hills, although I’d bet most people now know that 90210 is Beverly Hills.) Nah, I’ll pass on those for now and save the big celebrating for next years 50th birthday bash. This year, I have some thank you notes to write, so I’ll go address those and fancy up the zip code for my celebrating.