The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 10, 1968 · Page 170
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 170

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 10, 1968
Page 170
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Page 170 article text (OCR)

Florida barefoot mailmen By Theodore Pratt 4 vmi. EDITOR'S NOTE: Novelist and historian Theodore Pratt has specialized in Florida. Of the III books he has writ: ten, I t have been laid entirely in his adopted state. Mr. Pratt, author of the best-selling novel and movie, "The Barefoot Mailman," lives in Delray Beach in the pi-ney woods near the L Li Li22s in ' 1 i i i Mill tin iml hunt The barefoot mailman reaches Palm Beach where the postmaster stamps his letters. It took three days to walk between Miami and the Palm Beaches. The most unique mail carriers of all time were the barefoot mailmen of Florida who once walked the majj along the southeast coast. The reason for their existence was very simple. Back in the early Eighties if someone in the pioneer settlement of what is now Palm Beach wanted to send a letter to the trading post settlement of Miami 66 miles away the letter first went to the lighthouse community of Jupiter 22 miles up the coast. It got there erratically by someone who happened to be sailing up Lake Worth and then going the rest of the way on foot, or all the way outside on the ocean by occasional schooner. From Jupiter the letter then went by Indian River boat to the railhead at Tltusville. From there it went by train to New York, from which it was sent by steamer to Cuba. From Cuba it was sent by a trading schooner to Miami. This tortuous route worked the other way, too, starting from Miami, and sometimes took up to 6 weeks, even two months, travelling about an even 3,000 miles to get less than 100. To fill the gap and give more express service than this the Postoffice Department started the famous barefoot mailman route, cutting the time down to three days. During the first period of the route it operated between Jupiter and Miami, 88 miles, and this took four days. The only road then in existence was of course the ocean beach and along this the mail carrier walked. Gwa. WQfy. (rta 3 All Florida Magazine

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