Delaware-built rolling post offices helped deliver the mail

October 12, 2021

This United States Railway Post Office car was one of dozens built by the Jackson and Sharp Company in Wilmington during the late 1800s. This one, specifically, was part of the passenger service between Chicago, Illinois and St. Paul, Minnesota. Post office employees assigned to these rolling post offices sorted mail en route as part of the government’s effort to speed up mail delivery throughout the country, an initiative that rang as loudly then as it does now.

Jackson and Sharp, according to Delaware Public Archives information, formed in 1863 to build all different kinds of railroad cars for freight and passenger service. By the 1880s and ‘90s, the company was employing more than 1,000 people for their manufacturing operations. By then they had become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of railroad cars, building 400 or so cars per year. Their government contracts had them building cars like this one, shown at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wilmington, for rail lines all over the United States. 

  • Delaware Cape Region History in Photographs, published every Tuesday in the Cape Gazette, features historical photos from Delaware's Cape Region - particularly - and from throughout Sussex County and Delaware generally.

    Readers are invited to submit photos of historic interest. They can be mailed to the Cape Gazette at PO Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958, or via email to

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