-by Greg Hoots- John Bowers was born in 1865 in Minnesota, the son of a farmer. In about 1879 John left Minnesota to move to Topeka, Kansas where he took residence with […]
-by Greg Hoots- Introduction In the spring of 1934 the most heinous, violent murder in the history of Wabaunsee County occurred in the rural hills southeast of the county seat of Alma, […]
This 1965 view of the historic business district in Alma, Kansas looks north at the intersection of Missouri and 3rd Streets. Every building in this photo is still standing today, except one, […]
Postcards have a rich history in the United States and abroad with the first postcards being used in Europe in the 1840s. In the United States, the first postcard was patented by […]
-by Greg Hoots- The Alma National Bank enjoyed a prominent place in the history of the business community of Alma, Kansas, boasting a rich history in the very roots of the town. […]
No single force was so important to the development of the American West than the railroad industry. By the middle of the 19th century, the nation’s lawmakers realized that the development of […]
In the late 1890s the U.S. Post Office began experimenting with a new service, Rural Free Delivery. At that time all mail to rural addresses was dropped at rural post offices, sometimes oftentimes at prominent rural residences or in country stores. In 1902 Rural Free Delivery, or RFD as it was commonly known, was made available to all addresses in the United States. Rural Free Delivery changed the lives of people living in remote, rural parts of the country.
In the decade following the creation of RFD service, 18,000 small post offices closed, nationwide. However, a new profession was born, the rural mail carrier. The first RFD carriers used narrow, enclosed buggies to carry the mail, replaced in the late 1920s with the automobile.
In this view, Alma, Kansas rural mail Route 1 carrier, Henry Diepenbrock stands beside his new mail buggy on his first day of work in 1904. When this photo was taken, the Alma Post Office was located at 309 Missouri Street. The building visible just behind the buggy was located at 305 Missouri Street. Diepenbrock retired as the Route 1 carrier on April 1, 1934.
The Wabaunsee County Historical Society’s mail buggy is currently on loan to the Chapman Center for Rural Studies and is on display at the Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas as part of the “Going Home” exhibition.