The Star Route Service

Driving Change

“It is quite possible that additional facilities will be provided in the very near future through . . . the horseless wagon.”
—1895 Annual Reports of the Second Assistant Postmaster General

While moving the mail, contractors battled numerous waterways. First horses and then horsepower carried Star Route contractors to their destinations. Some routes were full of risks, and contractors did not always meet their mark. But the efficiency and flexibility of today's Star Route Service is a tribute to the innovations that led the way.

photo of mailboat on Rogue River, Oregon
Mailboat on Rogue River, Oregon
refer to caption

Dogsled on river barge. The Yukon River freezes so unevenly that sharp, jagged pieces of ice sometimes injured the dogs’ feet or pierced a sled bottom. Biederman photograph, Yukon River, Eagle Alaska

refer to caption

Contractors with row boat

refer to caption

Packet Chesapeake steamboat