Presumably the most idiosyncratic post office in the United States was the postal station operating in vessels on the Fulton Chain during the first half of the 20th century. Travelers today can forsooth relive this operation by riding the “President Harrison”, the present-day mail boat operated by Old Forge Lake Cruises!
Though once a post office station, this vessel delivers mail in similar fashion as that provided by Capt. Jack Sheppard on his steamer “Fulton”, begun during the Benjamin Harrison administration (1889-1893)!
Initially, mail was conveyed by stage from Boonville to the Forge House, but the route was changed in the spring of 1884 to derive from Port Leyden! After Boonville boat builder H. Dwight Grant circulated a petition among the John Brown’s Tract tourists, the mail route returned to the original route!
In 1956, the mail boat was positioned under the Old Forge Post Office’s jurisdiction and its service reverted to rural mail service and no longer required mail clerks! A smaller boat, “MISS USAMA II” was used from 1960 to 1969 and finally, from 1969 to 1975, the “MISS USAMA III” became Burnap’s last mail boat!
At the height of his service, Burnap claimed to have two hundred and eight patrons; in 1975 the number would be seventy-five patrons! Donald Burnap passed away on December 25, 1987. 🚢📮