Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, September 20, 2020, pg. 7
Mail used to be delivered by special railroad cars along the train routes to various cities. Sorting was done on the train and bags were dropped off in each town along-the-way. Here in Albion the mail "drop off" was on the east side of N. Superior St. along the tracks behind the Hotel Albion. The mail bags would then be carted to the nearby Albion U.S. Post Office. Part of the requirements of being a postal worker at the time was to learn the various railroad routes to various cities, so you knew "what bag" to put each individual letter in as it was being transported to the next town.
In the Library of Congress collection are some Railroad Service Maps by Frank Galbraith, published by the McEwen Map Company of Chicago. These show the various railroad lines at the time, and the post offices located in each particular state and county.
From our Historical Notebook this week we illustrate the 1897 Railroad Service Map of Calhoun County (and a little bit of western Jackson County, too) by Galbraith. The two railroad lines that went through Albion of course, were the east-west Michigan Central Railroad, and the north-south Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.
All the towns that are listed on this had post offices, although some weren’t located along any railroad. One of the "newer" post offices listed here is Tokio, located north of Marengo and Marshall. It opened in 1897, and closed a few years later in 1901. Why, there even was a post office at Duck Lake! It closed on September 14, 1901. The post office at Eckford, located along the Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukee railroad, was closed June 15, 1934. The post office at Devereaux was closed on October 31, 1924. The post office at Otter Creek north of Springport closed on June 2, 1900. The post office at Marengo closed October 31, 1933. How many of our readers have old postcards or letters with postmarks from these smaller post offices?
1897 Railroad Service Map of Calhoun County
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic