The Wabaunsee County Historical Society Museum recently installed a new exhibit in their upper gallery, titled, Wabaunsee County On the Map. The exhibit features seven historic maps of Kansas and Wabaunsee County […]
The Wabaunsee County Historical Society quilting ladies will celebrate their 20th year of quilting at the museum in Alma in 2017. Two days a week the quilting ladies gather at the museum […]
In the late 1890s the U.S. Post Office began experimenting with a new service, Rural Free Delivery. At that time all mail to rural addresses was dropped at rural post offices, sometimes oftentimes at prominent rural residences or in country stores. In 1902 Rural Free Delivery, or RFD as it was commonly known, was made available to all addresses in the United States. Rural Free Delivery changed the lives of people living in remote, rural parts of the country.
In the decade following the creation of RFD service, 18,000 small post offices closed, nationwide. However, a new profession was born, the rural mail carrier. The first RFD carriers used narrow, enclosed buggies to carry the mail, replaced in the late 1920s with the automobile.
In this view, Alma, Kansas rural mail Route 1 carrier, Henry Diepenbrock stands beside his new mail buggy on his first day of work in 1904. When this photo was taken, the Alma Post Office was located at 309 Missouri Street. The building visible just behind the buggy was located at 305 Missouri Street. Diepenbrock retired as the Route 1 carrier on April 1, 1934.
The Wabaunsee County Historical Society’s mail buggy is currently on loan to the Chapman Center for Rural Studies and is on display at the Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas as part of the “Going Home” exhibition.