loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

loading media...
The Post Office

The Post Office

GRHC - September 28th, 2011

Grand Rapids' first post office was established in 1832 along the banks of the Grand River at Bridge Street. Post master Darius Windsor oversaw its growth under less-than-favorable conditions.



The first post office was established in1832 at the mission on the west bank of the Grand River, near Bridge Street. As settlers began to arrive, the inconvenience of taking letters across the river in canoes forced a move. In 1834 the home of Joel Guild (site of the McKay Tower) was where the reception and delivery of mail was conducted.

The next move, to the home of Postmaster Darius Winsor, who lived at the corner of Ottawa and Fountain happened in 1836. The content of the mailbag was extremely small and Winsor’s coat pocket was often called the “post office”.

Mail was brought to Grand Rapids at irregular intervals by foot or on horseback. In 1837 contracts were made to bring the mail from Battle Creek twice a week by stage, weather permitting. It was not until 1846 that daily mail from the east, by way of Battle Creek, was established. Sometimes it took two days to get through. With the advent of the railroad in 1850, mail, averaging 1200 letters per day, was brought into the city twice daily.

The “White Flyer”, a postal streetcar belonging to the Grand Rapids Street Railway, delivered mail around 1910. About the same time, a one-horse, four-wheeled rig delivered mail, and the first automobile was used by postal carrier, Mel Heering.

In 1910 the approximate time for a Grand Rapids letter to reach Chicago was 5 days; New York City, 26 days; and San Francisco, 80 days. 

Full Details

TitleThe Post Office
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, radio, Podcast, post office, post, mail,
Pubdate StringSeptember 28th, 2011

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC