The EC’s postal service made its debut in 1890 | New
The current structure of the El Campo post office, located at 110 S. Mechanic, was dedicated to service on June 16, 1938.
Over the next six months, I will give a brief history of the postal service in El Campo from documents, photos, newspapers and more found in the basement of the current post office, as well as an overview of how it works. a post office.
Courier service is taken for granted for sending letters, Christmas cards, gifts, due bill payments and more. The United States has the largest postal system in the world, delivering 47% of all mail in the world.
In 1890, Christian Bruns applied for a post office in El Campo, rather than Prairie Switch, the town’s original stop name.
New York, Texas, and Mexico railroad stops for courier and passenger service did not include Prairie Switch, but only harvest wagon and livestock service. The nearest post office was in Pierce where Bruns mailed the request.
The US government required that at least 100 people reside in a community to qualify for postal service before granting postal service, as well as the potential for 250 additional customers in the surrounding territory (the cost of operation could not exceed profit to stay open).
On March 17, 1890, the fourth-class postal service was approved and Bruns appointed the first postmaster of El Campo.
He chose not to serve and was replaced by Eckhard Bauch on August 26, 1890.
Bruns must have regretted his earlier decision as years later he was re-appointed Postmaster with the departure of August Natho who only served one year.
Fewer families have settled in West Wharton County than east of the Colorado River. The black earth on the west side was more suitable for breeding and growing hay; the rich soil of Caney of the east for the cultivation of cotton and sugar cane.
With the construction of a railway line from Richmond to Victoria in 1881, livestock enclosures were built next to the railway line to handle the shipment of cattle to market as a replacement for long treks.
In 1892, land speculators began buying land west of the Colorado River in Wharton County and brought Swedes and Norwegians down from the Midwestern states by rail with pen in hand to sell to them. “heavenly conditions”.
In 1894, the Texas Land & Cattle Co. offered 20,000 acres it owned for sale to Danish farmers. This land sold for a minimum of $ 2 an acre to a maximum of $ 50 an acre, depending on improvements and access to water, wood or a road.
Between 1893 and 1895, about 200 people lived in the community of El Campo which had two salons, three general merchandise shops, two lumber yards, a blacksmith, a greengrocer, a bakery and a hardware store.
By 1900, 130 businesses were operating, serving the now tripled population with people buying land in the surrounding area. The community now included three saloons, eight general merchandise stores, four blacksmiths, three restaurants, two hotels, three cotton gin factories, four doctors, two pharmacies and a bank.
In 1890, the estimated population of El Campo was 856.
In 1896, a fire destroyed many wooden structures located on the north side of the railway line.
El Campo becomes an official “city” receiving its charter on June 19, 1905.
In 1906, the first electric / ice / water factory opened, eliminating the need for dangerous kerosene lamps.
But in 1908, fire burned down many wooden buildings on the south side of the railroad tracks, prompting citizens to create the first volunteer fire department and set up a station.
According to the US census, the population of El Campo in 1910 was 700. By 1920, it had grown to 1,700 inhabitants; and in 1936: 2,034 (No official census was taken until 1910. The census was based on people living within the city limits and represents only 2 / 5ths of postal customers.)
In 1908, two rural star roads were created to serve Taiton and Danevang. There was no city mail delivery. Instead, the post office had 551 individual mailboxes for rent, or general delivery (where a person could request mail at the window at no cost.) As the population grew, so did the amount of mail. .
The rented space acquired in private buildings was always too small, forcing the post office to relocate several times to larger premises to acquire more work rooms and rented box space.
The first post office site [Block 1, lots 2,3,4] facing rue Monseratte and the railway line. The second post office site was at the corner of West First and Mechanic streets (now Greek Brother’s restaurant.)
The post office moved two more times, until March 1936, when Postmaster AL Lincecum requested that a government-owned structure be built for use as a post office in El Campo.
Part II will focus on the current post office, staff and policies.
– The Six-Part Story of El Campo Post Office is a monthly article in the El Campo Leader-News written by Wharton County historian Merle R. Hudgins.