Bethel Historical Society to celebrate 200th anniversary of first mail delivery

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BETHEL — The Bethel Historical Society will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bethel Postal Service this summer by re-enacting the town’s first mail delivery, Executive Director Randall Bennett said Monday morning.

Bennett said that he and the other members of the historical society are “constantly aware” of the different anniversaries related to the Bethel area.

“These anniversary events are important, I think, because they serve as reminders, and are a great way to really draw attention to the rich history of the town and the region, whether we do that by developing a program, an exhibit or in some cases, a publication,” Bennett said. “This may not seem like an important anniversary, but according to Dr. Moses Mason, who used to serve as postmaster for the town, this was a major event for Bethel.”

Bennett said that he had forgotten that the official anniversary for the establishment of the Bethel Post Office was on Jan. 5.

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“That’s coming right up, so in order to make sure we could contact as many people as possible and to take advantage of the warmer months, we’re going to host a re-enactment of the delivery of the town’s first mail,” Bennett said.

The re-enactment will feature a horse and a rider blowing a tin horn, Bennett said.

“Our biggest goal is to find a horse that won’t be skittish if someone is blowing a tin horn on its back,” Bennett said with a laugh. “The last thing we’d want to do is cause chaos.”

Bennett said that in 1815, when mail was first delivered to Bethel, the sound of the tin horn blowing was “just as important and recognized as the sound of a train whistle blowing when it came to town.”

“This was something that people looked forward to,” Bennett said. “Getting news from the outside world was a huge thing.”

Although an official date for the re-enactment has yet to be scheduled, Bennett said a short program will likely be held afterward where the historical society will talk about the history and significance of the postal service.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people wondering what’s going on when they hear a tin horn going off this summer, but I think it’s important for people to remember the significance of the postal service in this area,” Bennett said.

For more information, call the Bethel Historical Society at 824-2908.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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