Mail Boat Then and Now

The J.W. Westcott Company Then and Now


Now:

  • Mail boat meeting us mid river
  • J.W. Westcott II making mail delivery to the John G. Munson
  • A rough mail delivery on the Detroit River.
  • Series of images showing a delivery from the Southdown Challenger.
  • Photo Essay featuring a mid-river mail delivery
  • View from the deck on a delivery to the John J. Boland.
  • Mid river delivery.
  • Stern view.
  • Westcott II at station.
  • Westcott II winning the 2001 Tug Race.
  • Heading to make a delivery.
  • In the Tall Ship Parade.
  • Delivery to the Sidsel Knutsen in September, 2001.
  • Interior view.
  • 360-degree view of the station.
  • A mid-river delivery aboard the U.S. Mail Boat J.W. Westcott II (filmed in 2001)
  • Pilot change
    The Westcott work boats also act as the pilot boat for Detroit. Pilots familiar with the river board foreign ships and guide them through the region.

    Capt. Sam Buchanan takes the J.W. Westcott II out to the Goviken.
    A ladder hanging from the saltie is used for the pilot change while the boats are moving.
    Capt. Frank Kanaby climbs aboard to relive the other pilot.
    Once Capt. Kanaby is in the wheel house Capt. John Hill makes his way down to the Mail Boat.
    The Goviken picks up speed heading upbound past Detroit.

  • Video onboard completing a delivery. (3.1 meg)

    Then:
    During it's first year of service, 46,994 pieces of mail were handled by the Marine Post Office. During the second year of operation, the volume of mail increased by almost 400 percent with a total of 175,850 letters delivered to more than 19,000 ships that passed Detroit that season.

    U.S. marine postal service, Detroit River, approaching freighter ca. 1910

    In its hay day, traffic on the Detroit river was so heavy that it was necessary for the steam tug to tow a small fleet of rowboats. These rowboats made it possible to meet the demand and service several passing ships simultaneously.

    U.S. Marine Postal Service, Detroit River, delivering mail 1911?
    Delivering mail, U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    Delivering mail, U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    Throwing the line, U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    Throwing the line, U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    Marine post office delivering mail, Detroit, Mich between 1900 and 1915
    Throwing the line, U.S. mail service between 1905 and 1915
    U.S. Marine Postal Service, Detroit River, Str. Bielman 1911
    U.S. Marine Postal Service, Detroit River, throwing the line 1911?
    U.S. Marine Postal Service, Detroit River, returning to the P.O. c 1911?
    U.S. Marine Postal Service, Detroit River, ready to cast off c 1911?


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    Mail statistics from "Steamboats & Sailors of the Great Lakes"