Records and Facts

How the U.S. Post Office was Started

U.S. Post Office


Ever think about how the U.S. Post Office was started? Receiving mail has always been a big deal to folks and loved ones as a means of keeping in touch. Although we sometimes dread the mail box because of what bills may be lying in wait, it is still a system we should all be thankful for. The first home delivery of mail, in the United States, actually took place in Cleveland in 1863. It’s kind of funny how it all started, but long story short, the postman was sick of everyone crowding the post office waiting to receive their mail during the Civil War. So he decided it would be better to deliver it on his own time frame. Since then the U.S. Post Office has become the second largest civilian employer in America. Of course Walmart is the first largest. But I thought it would be cool to take a look at some facts concerning the U.S. Postal Service and the development it’s taken to be where it is today.

Some History on the U.S. Postal Service

The first actual postal service was started in the American Colonies in 1692. They operated on a grant issued by William and Mary. Fast forwarding a bit to 1847, this is when the first U.S. postage stamps were printed. The first one printed was actually a five cent stamp with Benjamin Franklin on it, mainly because he was the first Postmaster General of the United States. There was also a ten cent stamp printed with a picture of George Washington. The five cent stamp was intended for letters that were going no more than 300 miles before delivery. Then, for any mail going further than 300 miles, you would have to use the ten cent stamp.

Developments in the Postal Service

Since the first home delivery was initiated in 1863, this meant the mail carriers had to be able to find everyone. So this meant that many of the streets had to be named and the houses needed numbers. Otherwise they wouldn’t have any idea where to deliver the mail. So a plan was put in place to identify everyone’s whereabouts. Although everything was now numbered, the actual mail boxes didn’t come into play until the early 1900s.

So the mail began on a delivery schedule of seven days a week up until 1912.  Up until the 1940s they actually delivered residential mail twice a day. I for one am glad it’s only once a day now. I don’t think I could stand receiving bills twice a day! lol This delivery schedule didn’t work out for everyone, some folks thought it wrong to deliver the mail on Sundays, so the schedule was reworked to a six day a week run. There are still a few places that receive mail on Sunday such as Loma Linda, California. They observe Saturday as their Sabbath day, so it’s a little different. But the Postal Service tries to respect their wishes.

When that Package doesn’t Arrive

We’ve all had times that we’re expecting something to be delivered on a certain day, but oops, it doesn’t show up. That can be extremely frustrating. Especially when you have a tracking ID and it says it should be out for delivery or it has an expected delivery date. But after speaking to my Postmaster on this issue it was explained to me this way. The tracking ID is mainly used as proof of delivery. There’s no guarantee that it will be scanned at each stop it makes. So the expected delivery date is generally a best estimate, and sometimes it may be delayed, or it may arrive early. There are a few exceptions, such as Guaranteed delivery, Overnight delivery or Saturday deliveries, those are expected to arrive when predicted. But it’s easy to want to take it out on your mail carrier. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not work for the post office, I just try to see it from their side. They really have no control over when something gets delivered, but mistakes do happen.

For example in 2010, the American Postal Workers Union had an internal election that was supposed to be held. But they were unable to hold their election as scheduled due to the ballots getting lost in the mail! haha, now isn’t that ironic! If you want a story crazier than that, check out my post Old Rusty Mail in that there Box, now that’s a doozie!

But considering the USPS operates 32,741 post offices that deliver to approximately 142 million addresses, it’s not all that surprising. And can you believe that for every one cent increase in the price of gas is sets back the USPS $8 million in transportation costs!

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4 thoughts on “How the U.S. Post Office was Started
  1. waw this is really Good information for some people who will like to know some certain things about America especially those of us from another country, Good work

    1. Yes, it’s very interesting the way some things play out in the building of a country. The U.S. post office has been around surprisingly longer than most would think. Oh how we rely on the mail man, especially this time of year.

  2. I remember years ago hearing about a Frenchman bragging about how a letter could reach anywhere in France in 3 days. France is the size of Texas! Fascinating post. We take our postal service for granted and fill it with junk mail.

    1. hahah, that’s funny, guess he hadn’t heard that we can do that from coast to coast in the same amount of time. I agree, the junk mail is a poor use of such a great system!

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