Mail Box Trouble

Postmaster Howden did his best for Skidmore and the surrounding area.  He worked hard to make free rural mail delivery a reality, but as reported in the July 12, 1901 Skidmore Standard, he sometimes met with obstacles:

Trouble With Rural Mail Route Boxes.

Our postmaster is having all kinds of trouble.  He worked hard to have rural routes established and met with many little and big vexing obstacles, but his avoirdupois was sufficient to crush them into innocuous desuetude.  But he has stubbed up against something now that he fears he can not get around or on top of.

To start with, not yet a year ago when the first rural routes were established, the inspector that granted them recommended or suggested to the effect that the department had ordered that all mail boxes should be uniform and recommended a certain kind of mail box.  That was alright, as far as it went anyway, so postmaster Howden went out and sold boxes along the two routes and everybody was happy.  A short time ago the route west of the river was changed and another route was established, and the new inspector wanted Mr. Howden to change all the boxes along both routes but he – Mr. Howden – objected for various reasons and so strongly that the inspector finally told him to use the same boxes that were already used along the route.  So Mr. Howden, acting upon the inspector’s conclusion, went out and solicited orders along the routes and secured quite a good many orders.

He sent in his order for boxes.  In a few days he received a letter from the manufacturer stating that he was unable to furnish the style of boxes ordered as he was under the jurisdiction – or some big word that means the same thing – of the government and could only furnish the kind of boxes that the department ordered him to.  He said he could furnish another style of box that was now recommended by the government, and, of course too, it was worth a good deal more money.

The Standard does not believe the department is making any such orders as that the patrons will be compelled to change their mail boxes ever ten months.  The box that was furnished last year cost $1.25 and the box the manufacturer claims he is now under obligations to make, will cost $2.00.

Now if the government is in the mail box business and orders a change in the style of boxes every ten months or a year, it is wrong.  And if the inspectors takes it on themselves to suggest a change once a year, or oftener, it is still wrong.  The Standard is with postmaster Howden and will help him register any and all kinds of kicks against such orders, and if necessary will furnish its Punkin editor to swear for him.

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