In April 2020, COVID-19 brought much of Arizona’s economy to a screeching halt. All businesses not deemed “essential” were ordered closed by Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey.
The lockdown continued for nearly two months. When Gov. Ducey finally gave the go ahead to reopen, businesses slowly began the road to recovery. Even those listed as “essential” had a challenge with this economic recovery.
Many small businesses and non-profits in Arizona didn’t survive the lockdown. The businesses that did survive are hanging on as best they can. Copper Area News wanted to give something back to the local business community as a thank you for supporting us through these troubled times. Our newspapers (Copper Basin News, Superior Sun and San Manuel Miner) have been featuring local businesses and non-profits since the beginning of 2021, encouraging our readers to Shop at Home, stay local and support our local businesses. To date, Copper Area News has featured 111 businesses and groups in the Copper Corridor.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic took its toll, businesses, families and even local non-profits had to adjust their strategies to keep their missions moving forward while working through the pandemic. Meetings were moved to Zoom and fundraisers had to become creative as in-person events were not allowed.
It’s been said about the United States Postal Service: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” It’s not their official motto – they actually have no motto at all (https://facts.usps.com/no-official-motto/).
Perhaps if we were to add a sentence about the COVID-19 Pandemic, it would be even more accurate.
The USPS, along with other delivery services, became a lifeline for many Americans locked down during the initial days of the pandemic. They didn’t have the option to shut down. They were some of the unsung heroes – the frontline workers – tasked with keeping the economy going.
According to the United States Postal Service, “The Postal Service’s mission is to provide the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service. The basic functions of the Postal Service were established in 39 U.S.C. § 101(a): “. . . to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It [the Postal Service] shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” The Postal Service delivers to more than 150 million addresses six days a week, and picks up pre-paid letters and packages at the time of delivery. It provides mailing and shipping services through more than 36,000 retail outlets and usps.com.”
William Dudley Harrington was a man who appreciated the convenience Post Offices can bring to the lives of persons living away from the bustle of big city life. Which is why, in 1881, he opened the first Post Office to serve the Copper Basin (the Basin) in his mercantile store in the area that would later be known as Dudleyville.
Afterward, as more ranchers and settlers moved into the area, the Phoenix-Eastern Railroad expanded into the Basin to transport supplies and the U.S. Mail. The railroad added Mail Stops along the route in the small settlements of Dutton Stop, Camp Grant, Christmas and other outlying locations along the rail line.
In 1905, when copper was discovered in the area and the mining companies started operations, rancher Peter Winkelman commissioned the United States Postal Service (the Postal Service) to open a Post Office on his ranch. At the same time, the Postal Service converted the Mail Stop in Christmas to an official Post Office, which remained in operation until 1932. As the town of Winkelman grew, the Post Office was moved into Gila County to better serve the downtown area.
The mining industry grew in the area, changing Hayden from a tent city to a booming mining community and a Post Office was opened in the general store in 1910.
With the invention of the automobile, the Post Service stopped using the railroad to transport mail into the Basin and the railroad closed the Mail Stops along the route. Economic ups and downs beset the area with a decrease in mining operations, causing the population to dwindle rapidly, which impacted the mail volume and revenue, forcing the Postal Service to close smaller offices in the area or convert them to part time offices, such as the one in present day Hayden.
Currently, there are two post offices in the Hayden-Winkleman area. The modern day Hayden Post Office is located at 54 E. Park Ln. in Hayden.There is less than a mile between it and the Winkelman Post Office, located at 301 Giffin Ave. in Winkelman. Should these Post Offices be closed, the nearest one is 5.4 miles away in Kearny, followed – not too closely – by the post offices in Mammoth and Globe, respectively 14.0 and 35.6 miles away.
If the residents of Hayden and Winkleman value the convenience of having at least one Post Office conveniently located near to where they live, now is the time for each person to consider how a Post Office should be utilized and treated.
It’s all the more important to remember the United States Post Office when “supporting local.”