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Rural carriers meet in Waupaca

Local postal service dates back to 1851

By Sharon Danke

The Wisconsin Rural Letter Carriers held its 112th state convention at the Ramada Inn in Waupaca on the weekend of June 24-26.

It had been 88 years since Waupaca hosted the convention. Waupaca was the host for the second convention July 4, 1905 and the 25th convention July 23-25, 1928.

There were 82 delegates present at this year’s convention.

The carriers conducted their business over the three days.

Marvin Waldschmidt, of Waupaca, was recognized for being a member of the Wisconsin Rural Letter Carriers for more than 60 years. He received a plaque and a certificate for being a member for many years.

The first post office in Waupaca was opened in 1851. Flour mills, lumber mills and general stores were the main businesses.

It took some time and controversy to establish Waupaca as the county seat. It was voted on several times between Weyauwega and Waupaca. After the folks in Weyauwega were caught stuffing the ballot box, the folks in Waupaca did the same.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court became involved and even the justices needed two tries to settle the dispute.

The first train arrived in Waupaca on Sept. 28, 1871. As the local population increased, so did the need for mail delivery.

The first Rural Free Delivery route in Waupaca started on Dec. 15, 1900. Postal customers would leave bags of feed and buckets of water by their mail boxes so the mail carrier could feed and water his horse.

Today, Waupaca has 10 rural routes. The state of Wisconsin currently has a total of 1,998 routes. There are only 16 states that have more rural routes than Wisconsin.

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