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Unusual Ways To Deliver Mail

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There’s been some talk about scaling back mail delivery to five days a weeks – eliminating Saturdays, but still at 45 cents it’s still a pretty good deal to mail a one ounce envelope anywhere in the country.

There’s a very small town in Arizona at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where delivering that mail is a bit unique. That town is Supai, Arizona. About 500 Native American Indians live there and it’s a tough place to get to. You can’t drive there and flying the mail in is impractical, so it’s delivered by mule train. It’s about a 4-mile trip down the canyon, five days a week with each mule carrying as much as 200 pounds of mail.

The world’s first attempt at airmail came aboard a hot air balloon. It was in 1859 when a guy had a pouch of 123 letters when he took off from Lafayette, Indiana headed for New York City. He rose to an altitude of 14,000 feet but instead of east the wind blew him south and after five hours he had drifted only 30 miles. So he gave up and put it on a train to New York.

For a number of years starting back in the 1930’s there was a serious plan to send mail across the country and across the world by missile. The first attempt came in 1936 across a small frozen lake on the New York – New Jersey border. The rocket crash landed on the frozen lake and the postmaster had to drag the mail the rest of the way to shore. The U-S Navy got into the act when a submarine off the coast of Virginia fired a missile with letters in it to a secluded naval air station in Florida. The mail got there, but the plan was dropped because it was just too expensive to deliver mail that way.


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