Mail Delivery to and from Bessemer – 1897
Written by Richard Steiger (2018)
Railroads were the primary mode of transportation in the early years of the Gogebic Iron Range. Rail transportation of iron ore to Ashland Wisconsin was the main reason for railroads coming to the newly opened mining district. But railroads quickly provided other important benefits to growing communities. Railroads moved people, mining supplies, building materials, coal, food commodities, general merchandise and a host of other necessities including the US mail.
In 1897 two railroads contracted to provide mail service to and from Bessemer… the Chicago & North Western Railroad and the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Mail arrived six times during the day, four times on the Chicago & North Western and two times on the Wisconsin Central. The first arrival of mail was at 8:05 am on the Chicago & North Western. The last arrival of mail for the day was at 5:35 pm on the Chicago & North Western.
The departure of mail from Bessemer occurred five times a day. The first departure of mail occurred at 8:25 am on the Wisconsin Central. The last departure of mail from Bessemer was at 7:45 pm on the Chicago & North Western.
Mail leaving Bessemer had to be at the Post Office thirty minutes before the scheduled train departure. Mailing a postcard from Bessemer cost one cent, a letter cost two cents, and a letter to Europe cost five cents, the international rate.
Levi S. Rice was the Bessemer Postmaster in 1897. He served in this capacity 1894-1897, and again 1915-1918.
|Arrival of Mails:||Departure of Mails:|
|8:05 am C&NW||8:25 am WC|
|8:25 am WC||1:08 pm C&NW|
|1:08 pm C&NW||1:15 pm WC|
|2:13 pm C&NW||2:13 pm C&NW|
|4:05 pm WC||7:45 pm C&NW|
|5:35 pm C&NW|