During the Continental Congress held in 1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the Postmaster General of the colonies that were uniting themselves against Great Britain. By 1847, the first US postage stamps were issued. In 1855 prepayment of postage was required. In 1860 the Pony Express was begun. This year we will celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of transcontinental rail service. By 1863, mid-way through the Civil War, free city mail delivery was the norm in urban homes, but free home delivery in rural areas would not be fully adopted by Congress until July 1, 1902. It was given the name, Rural Free Delivery [RFD]. It appears by 1904, rural communities of Davis County began to receive RFD service. At that time, approved mailboxes were a cylindrical 6” X 18”.
On February 19, 1914, Charlotte May Pierstorff, just short of her sixth birthday, was “mailed” from her parents’ home in Grangeville, Idaho to her grandparents’ house about 73 miles away for just 53-cents worth of stamps. It didn’t take long for the abolishment of this practice!
As a Syracuse-boy, our address was:
RFD #1 Box 63 Layton, Utah
At 13 I remember the big change! It was called the Zone Improvement Plan; ZIP for short. And with that, zip codes were created to improve mail service. Now every demographic you’d care to research is available by zip code. Mr. Zip [Zippy] delivers more than mail!
Syracuse was first associated with Layton’s post office and then with Clearfield’s. But now, we have our own identity, 84075.
I get too much mail today, most of it junk! Perhaps you feel the same. But, as a child, do you remember the feelings of excitement when someone would send you mail with your very own name on the envelope? For me it was like Christmas morning! I loved going to the mailbox and discovering that I had actually received mail! I didn’t really love the mailbox itself; just its contents!
Mother liked Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® for breakfast. Dad repeatedly said that cold cereal was eating popcorn. Consequently, when we ate his cooking, cereal was hot, and called mush. My personal favorite was Quaker Oatmeal®. We didn’t seem to be so concerned about our eating habits in those days. Dad often cooked side pork (thickly sliced, uncured bacon) as an addition to our mush. Mother bought raw milk from a local dairy farmer and my brothers and I fought over the strippings [heavy cream] to cover our mush. My brother and I always contended a bit during January and early February for the empty oatmeal box, because it made the best Valentine’s Day mailbox for school; round of course! I loved that annual, schoolboy tradition. It was fun to construct the mailbox; its contents, however, were what was precious.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours. Find something to do with those you love. Create a memory!
Michael Gailey, Mayor