Boston Post Road, established in 1673, is the oldest postal mail route in America. Boston Post Road is described as America’s first mail route by The U.S. Department Of Transportation. It is also mentioned as the first official post road in North America by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
Large sections of the various routes are still called the King's Highway and Boston Post Road. The road is still called the Boston Post Road because it was the first postal route between the two cities, created through the advocacy of Gov. Francis Lovelace of New York (who sent the first post rider on his way in 1673) and his Connecticut counterpart, John Winthrop Jr. The U.S. Post Office still travels this route today to deliver mail.
The Boston Post Road started as a system of mail-delivery routes between New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, that evolved into one of the first major highways in America. It was the first postal route between Boston and New York and is the oldest mail route in America. When Benjamin Franklin was appointed Colonial Postmaster he established a weekly mail east of Boston thereby giving the name of "Post Road" to the newly completed upper King's Highway, Large granite blocks were placed along the poet roads radiating outward from Boston.
North America’s first post rider carried mail that consisted of “two port-mantles crammed with letters, sundry goods and bags” from New York to Boston in 1673. The two-week, 250-mile trip was through New Haven and Hartford in Connecticut, and then on to Springfield, Worcester, and finally Boston in Massachusetts.
The Boston Post Road became a portion of The King’s Highway, a 1,300-mile road laid out from 1650 to 1735 in the American colonies to link Charleston, South Carolina, to Boston, on the order of Charles II of England. In 1753, then-Deputy Postmaster Benjamin Franklin traveled the Boston Post Road to standardize postal rates based on distance. Stone markers were placed at mile points along the route. In 1783, the Boston Post Road carried America’s first long-distance stagecoach service from New York to Boston, corresponding with improvements in the road’s surface that resulted in a faster, safer, and more efficient transportation system.
The success of the stagecoach service along this route convinced Congress to send mail by stagecoach instead of lone rider. In 1789, newly elected President George Washington made a tour along the Boston Post Road from New York to Boston. Several old New England buildings still display the sign “George Washington Slept Here” along this route. In 1925, when the federal government asked each state to designate its principal routes, the Massachusetts public works chief picked two branches of the Boston Post Road as U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 20.
Today, the three routes of the Boston Post Road are now the I-95, I-91, and I-94. It is still the oldest mail route or oldest postal route in America. Old Boston Post Road is part of today's Route 1. The three different routes or alignments were: Upper Post Road, Lower Post Road, and Middle Post Road. Portions of these postal roads were eventually incorporated into more substantial trails and pathways, leading to portions of several U.S. and interstate routes. In 1993 the National Park Service designated the Boston Post Road Historic District in Rye, NY.
Fun Fact: The U.S. Postal Service is the largest postal service in the world according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Boston Post Road is also a portion of the oldest highway in America
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