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Medford's First Post Office Box   
Thursday August 4, 2005
By Alice Mullaly

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

Often objects from our past are lost, never to be seen again. But one item from Medford, Oregon's, early history keeps popping up: the original post box.

In 1883, Medford's first postmaster, J. S. Howard put a dozen or so slots in an old soapbox and set it up in his store as the "post office." People came in and went through the slots looking for their mail. This was soon replaced by other arrangements and the little box was lost. 

In 1896, ex-postmaster Howard found it while cleaning up old post office fixtures and it was mentioned in an article in the Medford Mail.

Then in 1908, the Medford Daily Tribune reported one could view that original post box in a store window. By that time there were 500 self-locking boxes in the post office. The paper was using the display to advocate for home delivery of the mail.

Nearly fifty years later, the post box resurfaced when, in the 1950s, Postmaster Moore Hamilton rediscovered the original box in the post office vault. Howard's grandson soon donated it to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

Today, J.S. Howard's original post box can be seen on exhibit at the Historical Society's Jacksonville Museum.

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Alice Mullaly, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Sources:
Medford Mail, Feb. 21, 1896; Medford Daily Tribune, 1908; and an article from an unknown newspaper, undated. All articles found in the Medford Post Office vertical file, at the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

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