At the time William Beekman operated his mercantile it most certainly would have served as a postal drop-off point—just one stop along the 2,000 miles of post roads that crept down the eastern coast of America.
From the mercantile, mail would be carried by stage coach to New York and then routed down the next leg of its journey. (The famed Pony Express did not begin until around 1860 and was used explicitly to carry mail to the gold rushed west coast).
Growing up in the rural south, I can easily romanticize going to the post office to pick up a package. I was fascinated by the neat rows of etched brass-doored boxes and even more-so by the tiny windows that allowed you just a glimpse of what was inside. I envied the more urbane townspeople who got to open those “treasure chests” on a daily basis.
Truth be told, I also found something oddly fascinating about the FBI’s ’10 Most Wanted’ poster, the missing children photos and all of the fliers for tractor parts, free kittens, and housecleaning services that blanketed the community board.
In small town America, the post office is a gathering place—like church—only with slightly less gossip.
As email and texting and other forms of electronic communication have made life faster and more efficient, many small town post offices are being closed. This is why we made the conscious decision at Beekman 1802 to use the post office as our primary source for getting our “goods for good homes” to good homes all over the United States.
We hope that we are doing our part to keep our little post office open.
Perhaps when I see the VFW selling paper flowers for a dollar in honor of veterans outside UPS or the local school having a bake sale on the steps of FedEx, I’ll change my mind, but until then Bob and Maria (yes, I am on a first name basis with our postmaster and clerk!) are safe.