Holiday Postal Record
Fargo’s postmaster, J. P. Hardy, announced a record amount of Christmas mail on this date in 1922. The post office processed twenty-five percent more holiday mail during the week of December 15th to December 22nd than any other year. Hardy attributed this massive increase to the Great War, citing the tendency for friends and relatives to mail packages to absent soldiers overseas who were not able to return home for the holiday. This, he said, was despite the increase in postage during the war – up from two to three cents.
The Fargo branch of the U.S. Railway Mail Service was responsible for handling and sorting parcel post for North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana. The number of packages in 1922 was so great that the Fargo Auditorium had to be used as a temporary mail terminal in which to sort the packages. Since the Fargo Post Office had first opened in 1871, under the name Centralia, it had never handled such a record number of packages. Roy Doiphin, the district’s Chief Clerk for railway mail service, reported that the number of packages was up by fifty percent from the previous year, and double that of 1920. Doiphin claimed that 3,123 packages passed through the terminal on December 22nd alone.
The enormous growth witnessed by the Fargo postal service during the 1920s drew attention to the inadequacy of the city’s Post Office. The Office had been built and designed by the Hancock Brothers in the 1890s, and was too small to process the growing amount of mail. In response, the city made plans for a new post office, which was finished and dedicated in 1930. The new office served the city for forty years, until it was replaced by yet another new office in 1970. The 1930 office underwent renovation and an addition in the 1990s and was rededicated as the Quentin N. Burdick United States Courthouse in 1998. Although electronic communication has largely replaced postal mail in the 21st century, in the early 20th century, postal business was booming.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Saturday, December 23, 1922 (Evening Edition): p. 1.