Hello my fellow history lovers! I hope today finds you well. After a stretch of beautiful days, the weather has again turned seasonably cool. As I drove around yesterday, I noted that the ponds are clear of ice, except for Knapp’s Pond on Union Street, which still had a shimmering coating of thin ice across half the pond. Here are a few items of interest for you.
First, remember to “spring ahead” and set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!
Second, I have attached the 2021 dues letter and form if you need it. Since we use a permit for mailing, the hard copy may not be forwarded if you have a winter address.
Third, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, I call to your attention a program offered by the Society and the Ames Free Library. On Tuesday, March 16th from 7-8 p.m. Ed Hands will present, via Zoom, a Master Class program on Easton’s Irish in the mid-19th Century. Pre-registration is required. You can follow this link for information on how to register, and further information on the program: https://www.amesfreelibrary.org/events/2021/02/25/master-class-online-irish-immigrants-easton-mid-19th-century-edmund-hands .
The Historical Society now has a Zoom account, so watch out, I’ll be putting something together for an April Zoom meeting!
Here’s a few questions for you. How many post offices are there in Easton today? How many Zip Codes? Can you name them all? It might be tougher than you think. For a small town, there has always been multiple post offices, and accordingly, multiple Zip Codes. Compounding this in the old days was the fact that there could be streets in two different sections of town that had the same name! Of course, in those old days, no one used street addresses anyway. A letter was simply addressed to a name and town. Still, it would find its way to the right person.
The Israel Alger house, built about 1785, stood near the northeast corner of the intersection of Turnpike and Foundry Street. Within this house was Easton’s second post office, known as Easton No. 2, with Israel Alger as Postmaster from 1811 until his death in 1825. He was followed by John Gilmore as postmaster for three and a half years, followed by Matthew Bolles, a Baptist minister. By 1829, the No. 2 post office had been renamed the Easton Four Corners Post Office. Bolles was succeeded only a year later by Bernard Alger, who was postmaster until the office was discontinued in 1841. At that time the post office was relocated and renamed as the South Easton Post Office. That was located for a time at the Morse factory on Central Street, and then for many years at the Copeland Store on Washington Street across from Central Street. The South Easton Post Office moved onto its own building in the 1960’s, and in recent years, has been located in a plaza further south on Washington Street across from Simpson Spring, where my friend and OAHS graduate Steven Guthrie is now Postmaster. The old Israel Alger house was destroyed by fire in the 1960’s. Attached is a late 19th century photo of the house.
Today, there are three post offices in Easton: North Easton (02356), South Easton (02375) and Easton (02334), and a fourth Zip Code is in use by Stonehill College (02357). At one time, there was an Eastondale Post Office with its own Zip Code (I think that was also 02357?), and there was an Easton Post Office at the railroad station at Easton Centre in the mid to late 1800’s. There may have been as many as five post offices operating at the same time in Easton during the 19th century!
Stay well, and looking forward to many good things,
Anne Wooster Drury