The Post Office
The building was built in the early 1900’s by Cummer and Son Cypress Co., and had to be moved out of the Green Swamp in Sumter County to be brought to Cracker Country Museum. The post office building was originally used as a logging camp in the middle of the swamp, but when it was brought to Cracker Country it was repurposed into a post office. This is unique in itself because in that time post offices were most commonly placed in general stores or an individual’s house. The post office service window was not original to this building; it actually came from the Knights post office near Plant City. The service window dates to 1889 and was an addition after the building was brought to Cracker Country. Post offices in rural Florida worked differently than many might be used to today. The postmaster would collect the mail from the train station and take it back to the post office. The postmaster would then separate the mail where the community would have to come receive their mail from the post office. The post office played a major role in rural areas in that it allowed individuals to hear from family and friends and get news they might not have access to. It also allowed them to operate their businesses or farms and get the materials and supplies they needed. Eventually in 1896 the postal service experimented with rural free delivery, delivering the mail to people’s homes twice a week. By the year 1902 rural free delivery was in use all over the state. Postal delivery helped encourage better use of highways and tracks. It also helped to improve and construct highway and rail systems. Mail would sometimes be delivered via horse or horse and carriage but this only happened when the road was clear enough to access. If the roads were built up with brush and less accessible the mail would have to be delivered by foot. A mail carrier might walk up to 60 miles a week making his rounds delivering the mail. The post office was very important in shaping rural Florida, and Cracker Country tries to exhibit this in the best way possible. Although the original building may have not been a real post office, it gives a historic building a purpose. It allows the museum to explain the importance of the role of mail by giving it a spot in an independent building. In previous years the post office used to act and function as a real functioning post office during the two weeks of the state fair. Unfortunately, this was stopped due to the cost of operation.
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