Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

August 2010

As a regional magazine publisher whose region happens to be Vermont, I like to sit around considering ZIP codes. ZIP codes are just routing numbers, of course, but magically, they really work.

In Vermont, there are  251 or so towns and cities. I’ve not counted them, but I know politicians (we are coming to political season, right?) like to be known as members of the 251 Club. The reason I’m not so sure about the actual number is I’m not quite sure how many towns and cities in Vermont I’ve even lived in.

Burlington, Shelburne, West Bolton, and Warren: Now, Burlington is clearly a different city than South Burlington, but West Bolton is actually part of the town of Bolton, so you really can’t count going from the West Bolton Country Club to Bolton Valley Ski area as visiting two towns unless you count the fact that you typically go through Richmond to get from one to the other.

Besides, my mailing address in West Bolton was Jericho, although my tax bill came from the town of Bolton, even though my Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom phone book lists ZIPS for neither Bolton nor West Bolton, just Bolton Valley. I can understand that, simply because I now get my mail in Warren at a Waitsfield post office box, which has Waitsfield’s 05673 ZIP. Turns out it has the same ZIP the directory gives for Mad River Glen.

You know, Vermont’s not a real big place, and 251 is a pretty big number of names (or numbers) to remember. 

So a lot of Vermont towns and even a few of the cities use the same name; they just add a qualifier to make a distinction. Burlington-South Burlington for instance. Just kind of noodling around that ZIP list, I noticed that 59 places were North, South, East or West something. You can also find qualifiers at the end, as in Essex and Essex Junction, although there’s a White River Junction but no plain-old town or city of White River. 

There’s North and South Hero, but no Hero.

There’s Center, Corners, Depot, Commons, Mills, Falls, Bends, and Springs to think about. There’s an Eden and an Eden Mills (one ZIP apart). There appears to be a West Dummerston but no East, North, South or plain old Dummerston. Throw Halifax and Charleston into that West-only group. I guess you maybe have to go east and out of state to find the place each of them is west of.

Which leaves Ely (05044) as a place I’ve not been to and don’t have any subscribers in.