Note: The following is part of a series of articles looking at the establishment of post offices and mail delivery in southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.)
The Bulloch Times and Statesboro News declared on Dec, 12, 1918, “Air Mail Service to Soon Be Established. Aerial Experts in Atlanta to Investigate Atmospheric Conditions.”
It continued, “the government is planning to establish the Air Mail Service...three military advisors (arrived) to conduct “a general survey of atmospheric and other flying conditions in and around the city.”
They would also look at prospective landing fields where the great mail machines will launch and light.” Plans were being made “for placing at the government’s disposal a finished field (for) the Air Mail Service.”
Then, the Bulloch Times and Statesboro News issue of Sept. 2, 1920 announced “New Mail Service Was Inaugurated Yesterday.” These mail deliveries were not direct, nor made by air.
Mail now arrived in the morning by plane from Atlanta at 8 o'clock in Savannah. The post office hired an automobile carrier to carry the mail between Statesboro and Dover.
Dew Smith of Statesboro was the successful bidder for this route. He made the trip from Statesboro to Dover in a new five-passenger car. Postmaster Freeman Hardisty accompanied him on the initial trip.
It went off without incident. The new service delivered the morning mail to Statesboro early enough that the papers may be read over and correspondence attended to before the middle of the day.
The new "Air Mail Special Delivery" was expensive. It was said that fifty cent stamps were required to use the new Trans-Pacific mail delivery of letters to Asia.
The Bulloch Times Statesboro News and Statesboro Eagle issue of Sept. 5, 1929 announced that "Statesboro Gets Mail by Graf Zeppelin."
The article revealed "Statesboro shared honors along with the balance of the nation in the receipt of mail from the Graf Zeppelin in its recent first around-the-world flight."
And, "Two pieces of mail were received in Statesboro via the air route. One of these came to Mrs. D.R. Dekle, and was from her son Bernard, who is in China."
In addition, "The other piece came to George Donaldson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Pete Donaldson, and was from his uncle, C.E. Chitty, who is in the U.S. Navy on the other side of the globe."
In an accounting of the route the Graf Zeppelin took, the article stated "These pieces were mailed at Tokio, Japan, on the 21st of August." Two of these letters arrived in Statesboro on the 29th.
The Bulloch Herald issue dated April 30, 1937 announced that on “June the 1st Statesboro and Bulloch will formally dedicate the new 'Municipal Airport'. The field has already been used by a number of ships.”
It “is commented on very favorably by those pilots having put down here. It is ranked very high with fields in the South and certainly is one of the best in the state.”
“An aerial photo of the airport, in the City Engineer's office, gives an excellent conception of the condition of the field. It is a natural "turtleback" which makes it ideal for airport purposes.”
In 1935, "sites in and near Statesboro were inspected and considered by engineers...The tract selected is 93 acres and located 2.4 miles N.E. of (the ‘Boro), and 800 feet from the Dover Road, State Rte. No. 73.”
And, “This project called for clearing, grubbing, grading, grassing, enclosing the field with a fence (and) placing of markers around the field...for the past 12 months...20 men have been employed there.”
“Because of the naturalness of the field as an airport it was decided to grass the entire field so that it may be used as an all-way landing field. This grassing should be completed by June 1.”
So, “$12,500 will have been spent on this project when it is completed. Of this amount, $7,000 will have been spent on labor. The land cost $2,794.80 and the balance includes materials and equipment rentals.”
The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle issue of July 29, 1937 revealed “Airplane to Come on Trial Flight. Arrive Monday to mark way for delivery of mail one week later.”
And, “This trial plane will leave Atlanta Monday morning at 7 o’clock and will arrive at Statesboro at 12:15 pm, going from here to Savannah, thence to Brunswick and Folkston.”
Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail him at email@example.com.