Storied Collections in Ward Ccounty: Postal mail wagon is conversation piece

Submitted Photo An early 1900s mail wagon is on display at the Ward County Historical Association’s Pioneer Village at Burlington.

Another artifact that is now on the grounds of Pioneer Village is an early 1900s restored mail wagon. This was donated by retired businessman Keith Bloms, who owned Bloms Lockers in Minot. It definitely is a visual conversation piece.

In 1896 the U.S. Post Office Department adopted the use of mail wagons to deliver mail to rural areas. Rural Free Delivery, or RFD, was a boon to residents who were previously required to personally collect their mail in the nearest town.

Rural routes were long and served hundreds of customers. To facilitate their perennial labor, carriers often purchased horse drawn wagons like the one donated to the Ward County Historical Society. The carrier would usually carry a cash box, a foot-warmer (small stove typically) and a small sorting desk in the enclosed wagon.

Wagons and sleds bearing the words “U.S. Mail” on their sides were welcome visitors to lonely rural farms. With this innovative service, 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 or Montgomery Ward.

Pioneer Village officially opened Friday, with hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. You will be able to see the mail wagon during these times or come when we have our upcoming auction at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, along with our Old Settler Days event on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, all on the grounds of Pioneer Village located at Burlington, along Hwy 2/52.


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