Because You Asked . . . .    

Mail Carriers in 1903 in front of Post Office at 50 East Cherry Street


First National R.F.D. Began in Sunbury


In 1897, Sunbury Postmaster E. L. Gill had routes laid out and drivers to deliver mail to rural customers and saw no reason to wait several more months until the United States Post Office was to deliver mail throughout the country.   Thus Sunbury became the first post office to offer R.F.D. (rural free delivery) in the nation.

John Longwell carried the pioneer Buckeye mail route - sometimes in a horse and buggy but about half the year on horseback and even now and then on foot.  His salary was $400 per year.

E. L. Gill's son, Roy Gill, Delaware County Welfare Director in 1961, told Dan Clancy of The Columbus Dispatch, that a lot of merchants objected to the rural mail delivery arguing it would hurt business because farmers wouldn't have a frequent excuse for coming into the village.

By 1903, there were five mail carriers delivering from the Sunbury Post Office located at the northwest corner of Vernon and Cherry Streets.

The mail came into town on the train.  The railroad used hooks by the track to catch the bags of mail rather than stop the train.  The mail was then sorted for surrounding communities.

Each little community had its own post office:  Condit, Cheshire, Center Village, Berkshire, Harlem, etc.  These slowly merged into Galena and Sunbury as the postal service consolidated for better efficiency.

Following the fire if the frame building in 1927, the post office moved to the Cupp building on the east side of the square then to the block building at 75 E. Cherry Street.

In 1941 the United States Post Office began using buses known as Highway Post Offices to move the mail.  Eleven years later the First Trip of the Highway Post Office between Akron and Columbus was September 30, 1952, which was to serve Sunbury and Galena.  Each bus had a driver and one or more clerks to sort the mail and parcels while the bus moved from community to community. 

I remember working for the post office during holiday break from college in the late 1950's when Post Master Hoyt Whitney answered every child's Santa letter and then worked late on Christmas Eve to hand deliver gifts which came in after carriers had made their rounds. In the spring he frequently made special deliveries of live chicks ordered through the mail or carried a letter to a mother from a serviceman. The Post Master was an important part of the community. Remember Bill Smith and Ken Crowl.

Whitney tried to get a new post office but had to move into a store front on Vernon Street until the post office was built on the southeast corner of Vernon and Granville Streets.  It was finished in 1975, three years after Whitney's death.

Trucks replaced the buses and mail was no longer sorted en route but was presorted in each post office and bagged according to destination.  Mail between Sunbury and Galena had its own bags and was dropped off at the right post office.

In 2002, a new post office facility was opened on Granville Street. Galena rural routes and Sunbury routes go out of the same building. Mail to Galena post office boxes is still delivered in Galena. Now mail is not sorted in the local post office but taken into Columbus and sorted by machine using the zipcode and is sent out from there. Local mail returns to be delivered the next day.

Mail is still delivered to homes in town and in the country. It may be faster but how many know the Post Master's or even their carrier's name?


More Photos     

Patrick Building
corner NW corner of Vernon and Cherry
Post Office- 1900
Postmaster E. L. Gill, Mrs. Gill, and Roland Sedgwick on left
Mail Carrier

Left to Right: Matthew Geddis, Douglas Gorsuch, Arthur Culver, Douglas Moore and O.W. Whitney

Post Office in Cupp Building
on S. Vernon Street
Oatfield Whitney
  New Mailbus Route - 1952    

Hoyt Whitney
Postmaster  Until May 1972
William Smith
Postmaster October 1972
Until April 1986
Started Home delivery inside Town in March 1974
Opened March 1975
Closed in 2002
Ken Crowl
Postmaster October 1986 -1992
Ken Crowl
July 1991
Richard T. Bennett Postmaster
December1992 to August1993
Fern M. Braddock Postmaster
August 1994 to
July 1997

Angela F. Huston Postmaster January 1998  to June 2000 Deborah S. Newman Postmaster
August 2000

267 W. Granville
since 2002


. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(09/27/2020 )

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