Mailing Memories in Mesa In 1881, there were more than 44,152 post ofﬁces in America. Mesa had just one. Located on the south side of Main Street and McDonald, the ﬁrst post ofﬁce furnished mail to the fewer than 200 residents in Mesa.!
Mailing Memories in Mesa• The ﬁrst postmaster in Mesa was Fanny VanCott Macdonald the Mayor’s wife. She ran the post ofﬁce out of her small, adobe general store from 1881-1885. !• Mesa was initially called Mesa City, but postal authorities would not allow this name for the post ofﬁce because it could be confused with Mesaville, another Arizona town.!• The post ofﬁce was called Hayden until 1886. The earliest known postmark from Hayden is from December 13,1883. In May of 1886, the post ofﬁce became known as Zenos and then later was referred to as Mesa when the post ofﬁce at Mesaville, Arizona was closed.!
Fanny VanCott Macdonald, first postmaster in Mesa
Mailing Memories in Mesa In early days, before the town of Mesa was ofﬁcially settled, mail arrived in Arizona Territory via stagecoach. By 1895, mail was delivered to the west via the Transcontinental Railroad. The rail line connected with the Maricopa and Phoenix railroad in 1895. The ﬁrst train station in Mesa was at University between Center and Sirrine!
Mailing Memories in Mesa• For decades, post ofﬁces served as the center for town life. This was the place where neighbors met to talk about their day. The post ofﬁce also served in times of tragedy. !• During the Small Pox Epidemic of 1883, John MacDonald, son of Fannie contracted small pox after a trip out of town. Upon his return, his illness swept through the town, killing 15% of the town’s population, or about 44 people. The Post Ofﬁce his mother ran became a quarantined “Pest House” until the epidemic was over. Mesa’s First Cemetery was established to deal with the high number of deaths from the illness.!
Mailing Memories in Mesa In 1937 Mesa’s third post ofﬁce, now known as the Federal Building, was built as part of Presidents Roosevelt’s WPA project during the Great Depression. Using his connections, Mesa Postmaster F.K. Pomeroy was able to bring United States Postmaster General James Farley to Mesa for the dedication. ! "!
Mailing Memories in Mesa Mesa’s quick expansion created the need for more and more post ofﬁces. In 1947, Mesa had seven # city routes and three rural routes serving Mesa’s 16,790 residents through one main post ofﬁce. These maps display some of the postal routes in # the early 1939’s.!
Mailing Memories in Mesa • In 1883 Domestic Letters were 2 cents per half ounce, and postcards/stamped cards were 1 cent.! • By 1944, stamps were 3 cents. ! • Today Domestic Letters are 44 cents per ounce, and postcards/stamped cards are 29 cents.!
1894 letter sent from Mesa to New York for 2 cents. It took5 -6 days for a letter to travel across the country
Mailing Memories in Mesa Even though Mesa was a distant outpost, it didn’t stop people from sending almost anything through the mail. These crates from 1945 were used to mail eggs which were commonly sent by mail from 1913 until about 1950.!
Mailing Memories in Mesa The mail can tell us much about a place and its people. Postmarks immortalize a place in time and give us clues as to how the mail was delivered in the west. These post cards written by early residents, give us a glimpse into what life was like in Arizona in the last century.!