A uniquely American history
The history of the U.S. Postal Service is a rich one, dating back to Colonial America, when a bar served as the first “post office,” serving as the pick-up point for mail that arrived from overseas. Our Founding Fathers established the first official Post Office Department in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1775, making it the second oldest Federal department in the United States. The first post office mainly carried information back and forth between Congress and the armies. Postmasters and post-riders were exempt from military duties so service would not be interrupted.
No home delivery
By 1847, the first U.S. postage stamps were issued, and only Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were featured, for five cents and 10 cents, respectively.
That five cents didn’t include home delivery, though. If you wanted your mail, you had to go to the post office to get it. Free City Delivery wasn’t started until 1863 by an industrious postal worker in Cleveland, Ohio. He didn’t enjoy watching his female customers standing in line, in the freezing cold, waiting to get news from loved ones fighting in the war. To remedy the problem, he started delivering to his customers. Of course, this service was so popular that news quickly spread and postal home delivery became the new norm.
USPS fun factsHooked on these fascinating stories? Here are a few more. Uniformed letter carrier with a child in the mailbag, 1900 Photo courtesy of National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Photo credit: WikimediaDelivery by Mule. The most unusual delivery method used by USPS is a mule train in Arizona. The mules carry mail, food, and supplies down an 8-mile trail to the Havasupai Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org
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