Edenville Township Post Office
Edenville’s Post Office was established in 1868; the second post office to open in Midland County. It was located on Water Road at the site which has now become Harper Park.
During early settlement, this area had been known as simply Sixteen, after its range number in the township location system of the ordinance survey. However, the federal government refused to accept the number as a post office name. Needing a proper name for the town, the first postmaster Burt Church is said to have looked out over the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers which he thought must be as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. He named the village Edenville.
Edenville was difficult to reach over the roads at this time, so the mail would have been delivered via boat in early years.
The building used for the Edenville Post Office up until the mid-1970s was first built out of timbers cut shortly after the Civil War. It was moved to its location on Water Road about ¼ mile north of Curtis Road in the 1870s. It was renovated over the years, becoming a General Store and gas station.
The owner at the time the store was moved in the 1870s was listed as Billy DeGrath. He soon sold it to Ralph Dunton, a Civil War veteran and early settler who ran the store and post office for many years. Dunton sold the store to Charles Harper of Hope in 1890. Harper moved to Edenville with his family to operate a general merchandise store at this location for the next sixty years, while also serving as postmaster.
The last postmaster to run the store and post office at this location was Harry R. Stone who retired in 1973 following 24 years of service. The old post office building was demolished in 1979 after the death of Charles Harper’s son Stanley.
Other Early Post Offices in Edenville Township
During the late 1800s many small post offices were scattered around rural areas all over the country. Establishing a post office at this time didn’t require much more than a public location and a person willing to take responsibility for receiving and distributing the mail.
In Michigan, lumbering communities would establish a post office for the transient lumberjacks, and then when the land was cut over and left available for pioneer farm settlers, often these new residents continued to use the rural post offices. Edenville Township once had post offices in the communities of Curtice (M-18 and Curtis Road) and Wright’s Bridge (East River and Baker Roads).
Rural Free Delivery
In 1896, the Rural Free Delivery law was passed by the federal government; this required that mail be delivered free of charge to people living in rural areas. By 1907, the Midland Republican reported that Midland County was under the system of rural free delivery.
Rural Routes were determined based on estimates of how far a carrier could travel via horse and buggy, they averaged around 25-30 miles. Smaller post offices began closing as mail delivery was established out of larger regional branches.
As of 2014, the post offices remaining in Midland County are the main branch in Midland as well as smaller branches in the northern areas of the county at Edenville, Hope, Sanford, and Coleman.
Author: Catherine Sias
Originally Posted May 29, 2017
Dodge, R. L. Michigan Ghost Towns of the Lower Peninsula (Formerly Michigan Ghost Towns I & II). Las Vegas: Glendon Publishing, 1971.
Lentz, Charles W. The Many Post Offices of Midland County. Spec. issue of The Midland Log: A Journal of the Midland County Historical Society of Midland Center for the Arts. Fall 2008. Print.
Maynard, Betty. “Harry R. Stone retires as Edenville Postmaster.” Midland Daily News. Midland, Michigan: April 2, 1973. Print.