Yesteryear: Early Postal Service by Pat Sides


A postman pauses for the camera on an unidentified street in Evansville. Judging by the style of his uniform, as well as the unpaved street, the photo was probably taken in the 1880s. Prior to 1863, citizens went to post offices to retrieve their mail, or possibly had it delivered to their homes by a private service.

After that year, free mail delivery to residences began in larger cities, depending on their population, and by 1868, uniforms became standard wear when Congress approved them. This postman is standing in a delivery wagon fashioned after a Roman chariot, typical of the era. By 1911, only seven cities in the country used newly-motorized postal vehicles, and the last horse-drawn wagons were not abandoned until the 1930s.


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