We live in a generation of Emails, texting, Snapchats and Facebook messaging that is quickly replacing the rich tradition of putting pen to paper. Before the internet, if someone wanted to acknowledge an occasion, or send invites, the Postal Service was the way to go, and continues to deliver todays mail as Greek historian, Herodotus described; “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”!
Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a card in the mail?
Looking back to 1908, a post office opened in Croweburg and remained in operation until it was discontinued in 1972. Croweburg was built around four mining operations with a population of around 500 people, mainly miners living in company houses. In its early days, Croweburg thrived with electric lights, paved streets, two churches, three schools, a picture theater, company store, community hall, and a post office. In its height, mail would be delivered to Croweburg via street car from the Pittsburg Post Office.
The last postmaster of Croweburg was Ms. Katie Richey, who served the community for 42 years and 10 months. Ms. Richey had lived next door to the post office, an easy commute for the post mistress. The post office was in the building of what was once was the Geddo grocery store.
Frank Geddo, the father of Ms. Richey, moved to Croweburg from Frontenac to open the grocery store when mining was at its height.
Ms. Richey was much more than a postmistress for Croweburg. She would take extra measures for the community such as chairing Red Cross or cancer drives in town. The community would go to the post office not only to pick up or drop off their mail, but also to make their electric and water payments. In 1972, Mulberry Post Office began to serve the community of Croweburg and at the age of 70, Ms. Richey announced her retirement.
The Croweburg Post Office wooden façade was donated to the Museum with the permission of
the postal inspector, and Ms. Richey.
Did you know in the late 1890s up to 1924, the Rural Free Delivery brought the world to the
American countryside? Wagons, horse carts and sleds bearing the words “U.S. Mail”; on their sides were welcome visitors to lonely rural farms. Finally, farmers could get timely livestock quotations and produce price information, which allowed them to sell their stock and goods at the best time. Weather forecasts were delivered directly to farmers, along with newspapers, magazines and mail-order catalogs from Sears and Montgomery Wards. Rural no longer meant isolated.
The horse-drawn mail cart, or hack, was used for mail delivery around 1890 to the early 1900s.
The seat would fold over for extra mail. The horse-drawn cart was donated to museum by the estate of Ben Weir.
Did you also know the first Christmas Postal Stamp was issued in 1962?
Remember to support your local post offices and mail your holiday cards today!
— Amanda Minton is the director of the Crawford County Historical Museum, as well as a lecturer of history at Pittsburg State University.