We are preparing to return home from a trip to Washington, DC. It was a short visit—two days. We have been to DC twice before, but there is never a loss for things to do in our nation’s capital. Since I am a homeschool mom and educating is at the core of my being, I thought I would share with you some of the things I learned on our trip.
- Did you know that when the postal service started in the late 1700s, that the recipient had to pay the postage for a letter? The postage was based on the number of pages and how far the letter had to travel. Can you imagine receiving a letter from a friend that was 10 pages long and who lived 10 miles away? I wonder if people didn’t pay the postage for letters from people they didn’t want to hear from?
- The first postal routes followed Native American trails. The first postal carrier to take the route would use a hand ax and mark the trees so that the next carrier could find the route.
- The pony express was a private enterprise founded by three men (Russell, Majors, and Waddell). They never made a profit on the two-year business. However, when Wells-Fargo purchased the business to use for the transferring of money, they made a large profit.
- To become a postal employee on a mail train, you had to take a rigorous exam. My grandfather worked on the mail trains starting in the late 1930s. He tells the story of how he had to be a certain weight. He didn’t make that weight. So, on one of his tries, during his drive from his home in Wisconsin to the center in St. Paul, Minnesota, he ate bananas. He had heard that eating bananas would help you gain weight. I can’t imagine how many bananas he ate, but when he got to St. Paul, he made the weight and was able to get a good job during a time in our country when jobs were hard to come by.
The preceding information was gathered at The National Postal Museum. It’s a very neat museum to go to and like all Smithsonian museums is free. I went to the National Postal Museum because my grandfather and my mother were both postal employees.
Thursday or Friday I will share what else I learned during our stay in DC.
Those are my thoughts for today.