ISSUE TOTAL SIZE
Young John Westcott must have been an entrepreneurial-minded lad when hecame up with the idea to deliver messages to large ships. Knowing it was logistically impossible to get ships to come to a halt just to receives papers, he realized he'd need to hook up with them while they were on-the-go. A dangerous task given the size and power of the wakes large ships generated. That was 1874. And the Westcott II still delivers mail-by-the-pail today on the Detroit River.
On the Great Lakes of Michigan, serving the Port of Detroit, is a well-known diesel motor ship offering ship-to-shore service 24 hours a day, during the navigation season. J.W. Westcott II is a boat that delivers mail to other vessels as they are underway. It is the only floating post office in the world to deliver mail in such a fashion. Why, it even has its own zip code - 48222! Any mail addressed to members of ship’s crews on vessels transiting the Detroit River can be delivered to them via J.W. Westcott II as they pass under the Ambassador Bridge. The Westcott story begins with a young John Ward Westcott who at the age of 20 earned his master’s papers and became, at the time, the youngest captain on fresh water. Because shipping companies kept their destinations closely guarded, to the point that even the ship’s masters were unaware of where their journeys would end, this gave John a business idea. He knew this secrecy often times led to problems at the ports, which might be overcrowded, and a companies ore supplies might become low. John had the idea of a marine reporting agency that would transmit destination and dock information to passing vessels. He would row out to a passing ship, a rope and pail would be thrown over the side of the ship and John would place messages in the pail, then they would hoist the pail back up.
Read the complete article in the Bevil Newsletter,
which accompanies the cover when collected!
GREETINGS FROM MICHIGAN
FIRST DAY OF ISSUE
OCTOBER 25, 2002
NEW YORK, NY 10199
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