Did you know that freighters traveling the Great Lakes receive their mail by a pail on the Detroit River? The J.W. Westcott Company has been delivering the mail by boat for over 100 years. Today, the mail is sent up the side of freighters via a five gallon bucket - affectionately known as "Mail by the Pail!" I found a nice little documentary on YouTube that gives some history of the J.W. Westcott Company as well as video of a typical mail delivery. It is pretty neat stuff and the video is right around four minutes long.
Some quick facts about the J.W. Westcott II -
- First ship issued its own zip code 48222
- Only non-military vessel to have a zip code
- High traffic days see about 60 deliveries made
- The ship and crew deliver mail 24 hours a day
While looking up information about the J.W. Westcott Company and the ship, J.W. Westcott II, I had forgotten that it had capsized and sank in October of 2001. The sinking took the lives of the ship's Captain and deckhand and the J.W. Westcott II was later salvaged and put back into service. Find the U.S. Coast Guard's report on the investigation of the sinking from the here.
You might also like to see a nice photo display of the J.W. Westcott II along with notes and some history. The photos and documentation were put together by James W. Hebert. Head on over to continuouswave.com/boats/westcott/index.html.