Postal worker delivers mail on a horse

Photo: Marion Post Walcott/Library of Congress

Equine delivery: Unconventional, but not yet outdated

A rural postal worker in a carriage transfers letters and packages to another worker's saddlebags in July 1940 near the foothills of the mountain city of Morehead, Ky. The worker on horseback would then take the mail further up the mountain where wagons and cars are unable to access.

Although this kind of mail delivery isn't something most people see every day, there are still two places in the U.S. that depend on this uniquely equine method: The Havasupai Indian Reservation's capitol city of Supai, Arizona and Phantom Ranch, a resort village nestled within the Grand Canyon.

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Postal worker drives a

Photo: National Postal Museum/Smithsonian Institute

Mailster mania

A postal worker sits in a WestCoaster Mailster, a peculier 3-wheeled vehicle used in the 1950s and 1960s to meet the demand of the ever-increasing amounts of mail being delivered to American households after the end of World War II.

Although the Mailster worked well in temperate climates and along even terrain, as little as 3 inches of snow could immobilize the vehicle. Additionally, it was especially prone to tipping over when hit by strong gusts, making sharp turns or, in the case of one unlucky carrier, encountering massive dogs.

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Postal worker with a child in his mail bag

Photo: National Postal Museum/Smithsonian Institute

Mailorder babies

A postal worker poses for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. Following the creation of the parcel post service in 1913, at least two children were sent through the service before the Postmaster General found out and quickly issued a regulation forbidding the practice.

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Rural postal worker rides a horse on his delivery route

Photo: Marion Post Walcott/Library of Congress

Rural mail delivery

A rural postal worker delivers mail to remote mountain families in July 1940 near Jackson, Ky.

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Postal worker delivers mail on a horse

Photo: Marion Post Walcott/Library of Congress

Mountains can't stop this mail carrier

A mountaineer receives mail from a postal worker on horseback in Aug. 1940 near the South Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky.

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