Let’s Keep in Touch

Loma Post Office

Area pioneers had left their family, friends and everything familiar behind. The loneliness they suffered in their new home was heightened by the lack of knowing what was happening where they had come from. A day looked forward to with anticipation was Mail Day at their nearest post office. Most often the post office was a room in another pioneer’s home. The home sometimes also had a store with the post office. In Vulcan County, there were 48 such small post offices.

The nearest post office, combined with store, was often many miles away. If someone went for groceries, they would pick up the mail for everyone in their area and then it would be distributed when they got back home. If no one was traveling, there could be quite a gap between “delivery days.”

The postmasters travelled many miles to the larger post office to collect the mail for their own post office. The trip to collect the mail often took two days and it was undertaken twice a week. Weather, insects and other pests had to be overcome. Prairie trails were the pathways. No gravel or paved roads!

Mail days were a big event. People gathered at their Post Office to see if anything had come for them. Having a chance to visit with the neighbors while waiting was an opportunity to compare farming stories, share some gossip, talk about the politics of the day. News from home was eagerly collected. Letters brought the reader up to date on distant happenings. Postcards were popular, with pictures of a familiar building, town, street or perhaps a family photo on them. Many postcard collections were prized possessions. Some are still to be found.

The earliest post office opened in Vulcan County was Brant, which began on May 1, 1905. It was located in Old Brant on NE 27-18-28 W4. The first postmaster was Charles H. Kelly. By 1918, forty-four more post offices had opened all over the county.

If the original store and post office owner moved, another settler took them over in his own house. So some post office locations changed several times. Names such as Hicksburg, Reid Hill, Bowville, Carmangay, Thigh Hill, Queenstown, Mossleigh, Cleverville, Eyremore, Kinnondale and others were destinations for the mail. Some of these place names are familiar, but many others have faded from memory.

The coming of the railway to an area caused post offices to sprout up. The location of the railway did not always pass through the early villages. The importance of the railroad to the future development of the village was shown by the number of small villages that relocated to be next to the railway: Carmangay, Champion, Milo, Brant. When the village moved, the post office moved with it. Two of the later post offices to open were Arrowwood and Shouldice, which started in 1924 and 1925.

The first to close was Little Bow Post Office, with postmaster Malcolm McLeod. It closed on March 22, 1909. When rural mail routes began, many of the little post offices were closed. A few in the larger centers remained. These continued to be a social hub for the community, a gathering place for all. Ten more closures followed by 1919. Some had been open only a couple of years when they closed.

The last post office opened in Vulcan County was the Vulcan Military Post Office, which opened on September 9, 1943 and closed on April 11, 1945. It was located at the airbase west of Vulcan, the site of Flight Instructor School No. 2 and the No. 19 Service Flying Training School.

The face of mail delivery has also changed. Personal letters and postcards have been replaced for many by the instant response of emails, text messaging, Twitter or Facebook entries.

But even with all the changes, you will still see neighbors and friends meeting in front of the post office for a chat, exchanging good news and bad. The post office still is an important link for keeping in touch.

Armada Post Office

 

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