Tag Archives: pennsylvania

Link: Art Deco gas station in Bedford, Penna

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reg penna dept agr

January 10-13, 2008
phila., penna.

I’ve always loved the old, non-standard state abbreviations. Since they were somewhat arbitrary, I remember –though I couldn’t pinpoint it to a year– when the Postal Service mandated the current and horribly bland two letter abbreviations. What with zip codes being the parts that really matter, I don’t understand why they cared anyway.

In any case, the abbreviation Penna for Pennsylvania was always my favorite, precisely because it made no sense. Abbreviating Illinois as Ill, for example, made intuitive sense. But Penna was just silly.

I first became aware of Penna’s power during the consumerist act of shopping, Mandrake. Every Friday night as a young child, my dad and I went grocery shopping for the week. I would often read labels to amuse myself. Many labels, especially those for canned goods, featured the text Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr. which was short for Registered with Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Just like the Free Masons and the Post Office, Pennsylvania seemed to exert a disproportionate pull on the world. It must be due to the influence of Ben Franklin –a noted Pennsylvanian, Postmaster, and Free Mason.

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