An old picture post card view of the Hegins Post Office, Hegins, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, taken in the early 1900s and looking southeast. At the left of the photo is the Hegins Hotel. The horse-drawn wagon is said to be for the rural mail carrier.
Not much else is known about this picture, except that the man in the dark suit is identified as Dr. Barndt, a local physician, and the man carrying the satchel is identified as John Heller Sr.
Rural “free” delivery, or RFD, began in the United States in the late 19th century, but was not widely in use until the early 20th century. Prior to its adoption, farmers in areas distant from the local post office had to make regular trips to town to do shopping and get their mail. Resistance to RFD came from town merchants who saw mail order businesses [such as Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck] as a threat to their businesses. The wagon in front of the post office in the picture above may have been one of the first of its type used in RFD.
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