The Old World Wide Web

Post Office Spoons

                    Paducah, Kentucky                                        Kokomo, Indiana

The major method of communication between people in different geographic areas was the postal system. The telegraph was faster, but it was very expensive to use. The telephone had been demonstrated, but its full potential would not be apparent for several decades. By 1901 there were 76,945 post offices in the U.S. The establishment of a local post office in most cities and towns was an event of immense local significance because it meant that the town "had arrived" and the community would celebrate the opening by staging a local parade with the local school band playing their instruments and dignitaries making profound speeches. It tied the community into the postal service's "world wide web".

    Indianapolis, Indiana                                Jacksonville, Florida

In anticipation of these ceremonies, the local jeweler would often arrange for a few spoons to be hand engraved with a view of the new building. Because of the significant cost, relatively few spoons were made for each event (usually 12 or less), but there were a lot of events. Thus each commemorative spoon is relatively rare, but it is still possible to find nice post office commemorative spoons. Most of these buildings have been demolished and many of the spoons have been melted during the last century thus these remaining commemorative souvenirs are one of the few records of their existence.

Two views of the Kansas City, Missouri Post Office

Two views of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Post Office

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