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FreightWaves Classics / Infrastructure: Email delivery from New York to Boston began in 1673.

The first regular land mail delivery service in the United States today began on January 22, 1673 (tomorrow 349 years ago). More than 100 years before the American Revolutionary War, Denma left New York City on a horse for Boston. Francis Lovelace, the Royal Governor of the Province of New York, acted under the direction of Charles II of England to establish closer communication between the North American colonies. Lovelace has worked with Connecticut Colony Governor John Winthrop and Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Leverett to establish reliable postal routes throughout their respective jurisdictions.

The name of the first rider to use what became known as the Boston Post Road is unknown, but the instructions given to him by Love Race for the first trip still exist. Lovelace instructed the rider to: You will primarily form an alliance with the Governor, especially Governor Winthrop, from which you will receive the best direction to form your best post-road. “

Map of the Boston Post Road route. (New England Historical Society)
Map of the Boston Post Road route. (New England Historical Society)

The first trip to the Boston Post Road lasted a couple of weeks. Riders traveled a total of 250 miles along almost desolate trails in the wilderness, delivering mail to communities such as New Haven, Hartford, Brookfield, Worcester, and Cambridge, and finally arriving in Boston. He and subsequent mail carriers used an ax to mark trees along the route to help guide other mail carriers.

The Boston Postroad was an important part of the tighter connection of previously isolated settlements in the northeastern part of the British colony. The Boston Post Road has also helped establish similar routes elsewhere along the East Coast. In the long run, the segments that make up the Boston Post Road evolved into an early turnpike and then into some of the first highways in the United States.

history

Collectively called the “Boston Post Road,” there were actually three different routes. The three main routes are: Lower Post Road (currently US Route 1 or US 1 running along the coast via Providence, Rhode Island). Upper Post Road (currently US 5 and US 20 from New Haven, Connecticut via Springfield, Massachusetts). Middle Post Road (branched from Upper Road, Hartford, Connecticut and ran northeast to Boston via Pomfret, Connecticut).

In some towns along the route, areas along or near Boston Post Road are registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Post roads are often the first roads in the area, along which certain historically important buildings were built. The Boston Post Road Historic District includes part of the road in Rye, New York. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Postroad is also famous for its milestones along the route from the 18th century. Many are still (or near) where they were originally set.

Early Boston Post Road Marker in Milford, Connecticut in 1949. (Photo: connecticuthistory.org)
Early Boston Post Road Marker in Milford, Connecticut in 1949. (Photo: connecticuthistory.org)

Originally known as the Picquaret Pass, the Upper Post Road was used by Native Americans long before the arrival of European settlers.

The Pass and Bay Path, now known as the Old Connecticut Pass, were used by John Winthrop to move from Boston to Springfield in November 1645. These paths form the original route of the upper post load.

The horse-drawn carriage evolves into a stagecoach

As shown in the photo at the end of this article, the Boston Post Road route was changed in 1753 by Royal Deputy Postmaster Benjamin Franklin. Carriage and stagecoach could use the road over time. When most of us think of stagecoach, we envision the scene of the Archetypal Old West. However, in October 1783, the first successful long-distance carriage service in the United States was launched along the Upper Post Road.

Most of the three segments of the Boston Post Road are still called the Kings Highway and / or the Boston Post Road. In the 1800s, the Turnpike company took over and improved the postal road segment. Currently, many postal roads are US Route 1, US Route 5, and US Route 20. Boston’s upper and lower postal roads were designated as US Routes 1 and 20 in 1925. It has changed.

A woodblock print of a relay station carriage on the Boston Post Road. (TD Thulstrup / Lucille Lucas Gallery)
A woodblock print of a relay station carriage on the Boston Post Road. (TD Thulstrup / Lucille Lucas Gallery)

Manhattan Island

Many of the routes in Manhattan (known as Eastern Post Road) were abandoned between 1839 and 1844. Meanwhile, Manhattan’s street grid was placed as part of the first plan undertaken in 1811.

Boston Post Road in 1923 in Larchmont, New York. (Photo: Larchmont Historical Society)
Boston Post Road in 1923 in Larchmont, New York. (Photo: Larchmont Historical Society)

Bronx

In Bronx, a map of England in 1776 is labeled “The Road to Kingsbridge, which means the rebels will rise.” Boston Post Road turned east shortly after exiting Kingsbridge, and Albany Post Road continued north to Albany, NY. I crossed the Bronx River in Williamsbridge and left Bronx to Kingsbridge Road in Westchester County.

The Upper Post Road was the farthest from the coast, so it had the fewest and shortest river intersections, so it was the most traveled of the three routes. It could also have contributed to its popularity as it was thought to have the best taverns. Upper Post Road roughly corresponds to Route 5 of the United States from New Haven, Connecticut to Hartford. Connecticut Route 159 from Hartford to Springfield, Massachusetts. US Route 20 (via Route 67) from Springfield to Warren, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Route from Warren to Worcester 9. Unnumbered roads to Northborough (Wooster’s Lincoln Street, Shrewsbury’s Main Street, Northborough’s West Main Street). US Route 20 from Northborough to Boston. A series of historic milestones built in the 18th century continue along the route from Springfield to Boston.

Lower post road

Lower Post Road ran along the coastline of Long Island to Rhode Island and turned north through Providence to Boston. Today this is the most well known route. Lower Post Road roughly corresponds to the original alignment of US Route 1 in eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

Map of the three Boston Postroad routes in Connecticut. (Image: Connecticuthistory.org)
Map of the three Boston Postroad routes in Connecticut. (Image: connecticuthistory.org)

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike was founded in 1803 as a straight route between Pawtucket, Rhode Island and Roxbury, Massachusetts, mostly on the west side of the postal road.

During the colonial era, Postroad began at the Old State House, the government center of Boston’s 18th-century city.

Middle post road

The middle post road was the shortest, fastest and most up-to-date part of the route. From Hartford, I came across the eastern highlands, where the Native American population is high. During the King Philip’s War of 1675, trips to these areas were often dangerous to settlers. Until the colonial postal system was established, the area was relatively sparsely populated and the Middle Post Road was established as the fastest route. Interestingly, this part of Connecticut is still depopulated compared to the rest of the state. Therefore, some of the original postal roads are preserved for a variety of situations.

Historical signs explain part of the history of Boston Post Road. (Photo: New England Historical Society)
Historical signs explain part of the history of Boston Post Road.
(Photo: New England Historical Society)



FreightWaves Classics / Infrastructure: Email delivery from New York to Boston began in 1673.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/freightwaves-classicsinfrastructure-mail-delivery-from-new-york-to-boston-began-in-1673 FreightWaves Classics / Infrastructure: Email delivery from New York to Boston began in 1673.

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