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Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)
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Author:  rock island lines [ Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

This negative is on Ebay. The pic was shot in Des Moines, apparently 1946.

I don't know much about trolleys & interurbans, but I've never seen a US Mail box on the end of a trolley like this. Kind of neat!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1946-U-S-Mail-B ... Sw4CFYt4-7

Author:  Harry Nicholls [ Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

At one time, there were many cities with postal streetcars, but this is unique. Most streetcars had a slot near the door where letters could be deposited and the mail clerk inside would sort them en route, similar to the railroad RPOs. When the trolley arrived at the post office, the letters were transferred to the main office for further sorting and distribution to the local carriers.

The big cities had more than one delivery a day to homes and business so it was not unusual to have a letter delivered across town the same day. I do not know when the trolley mail cars ceased to be used, but I would guess in the 1929-1930's years of the depression at the latest, and maybe earlier as the automobiles encroached on traffic patterns and profits. As early as 1922, trolley ridership had peaked and streetcar systems were eliminated or started using buses that did not need the costly overhead or track expense.

Harry Nicholls

Author:  wilkinsd [ Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

Knoxville had a fleet of single truck curve sided cars built by the Cincinnati Car Co that had mail slots on them as well.

Author:  rock island lines [ Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

Cool. I had no idea there was ever mail pickup by trolleys, so thanks for the info.

Author:  Dougvv [ Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

Hi,

I recall Mom (1930-2012) talking about dropping letters in mailboxes on streetcars in Harrisburg, PA.

It makes sense for trolley RPOs but I never realized it.

Thanks.

Doug vV

Author:  Larry Lovejoy [ Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

When I was in Europe in the summer of 1968, the trams in Amsterdam had mailboxes hanging on the rear of the car.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.

Author:  wilkinsd [ Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

A Knoxville body has had a very thorough cosmetic restoration (including replicating the truck!) and is on display at the East Tennessee History Center. I dug out my photos from a visit a number of years ago, you can see the mail slot behind the front door, and then a closeup.

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Author:  rock island lines [ Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mailbox on a street car (Des Moines, IA)

The sight of that restored Knoxville car is enough to chase away the winter blues. What a nice museum exhibit and restoration.

While searching just now, I also ran across your blog report on the car.

Thanks for posting.

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