Sled Dog Teams and the U.S. Mail

Sled Dog Teams and the U.S. Mail


A little background history on the mail system that was used in Wings of Change.


MailIn Balto 3: Wings of Change, Balto's son Kodi, and three other dogs (Dusty, Kirby, and Ralph) are used in a dog team. They have the important role of delivering the mail from their small Alaskan town of Nome to another (White Mountain) and back again.

But something caught the attention of a few fans with a keen eye: Why does the post office say 'U.S. Post Office' when the film takes place in 1928 and Alaska isn't even an official state yet? How is this possible? Is it a blooper? To answer this question: No, it is not a blooper at all.

Thanks to the town of Sitka in the territory of Alaska recieved its first U.S. Post office in 1867. The mail was transported by the use of sled dogs (which was the mode of transportation used by the Native People that also lived there). At first in Alaska, it was not very populated (except for the Native Alaskans) until the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-98, in which people would pass their mail to someone that was heading for a certain direction in order to deliver messages. This continued until the mail services became more organized by 1912, when Alaska was ruled by a territorial government.

Of course, the diphtheria run of 1925 took place during this time period of territorial rule; many of the mushers used in the serum run were actually mushers for the U.S. Post Office! Unfortunately, by the late 1930s, the dog sled mail teams were being replaced by the flying creatures known as airplanes. Even though air delivery was more reliable in the snowy weather, dog sleds were still used to transport mail from one airfield in a big town to another. So, what Balto predicted in Wings of Change about planes taking over the jobs of sled dogs was true . . . kind of.

Near the year 1938, the Postmaster General made a new system called 'emergency mail' (people would Dogmake trails and places for dog teams during their journey and also hired more mushers (also called mail contractors) to deliver mail without traveling for too long). This continued throughout the Second World War; mail traveled mainly by dogsled, even though the U.S. Congress changed some of the Postmaster's original plans, making winter mail travel only by dog sled (even if airplanes were available). This made the mail take much longer to deliver from place to place . . . sometimes it took as long as three months to recieve your mail!

In 1959, Alaska became part of the United States and, soon after the year 1963 marked the end of sled dog mail when an airplane took over the last scheduled route.

Although the dogteam U.S. Mail Service is officially over, sled dogs are still used as a mode of transportation and for sport (such as the Iditarod (1973), which follows the path that the mushers took to deliver the medicine to Nome in 1925). However, dogsled mail deliveries are still done for special annual occasions, such as the Iditarod (a special letter that teams carry throughout the length of the race; the top five racers have their letters put up for auction to raise money to help fund the Iditarod race committee) and a special course called the Yukon Quest (a difficult path from Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon Territory to Fairbanks, Alaska).






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Guest
Guest
May 29, 2008
Is not currently on the site
VERY nice article, Juuchan! Wow! I'm impressed! Nice research, and
nice results. Yes, Alaska was receiving U.S. mail by then, and it was
a U.S. territory in the 20s. Under the jurisdiction of the Treasury
Department of the United States, if you can believe that! The
department's revenue cutter ships often served as cargo and mail
carriers, and even passenger vessels at times...and as official
representatives of the U.S. government.

Guest
Guest
December 11, 2007
Is not currently on the site
Such well thought out research on your part. Thank you so
much for posting this I was questioning this myself and this
was very helpful ;]

Guest
Guest
January 06, 2007
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wierd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest
Guest
January 04, 2007
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good article.your really smart.

August 23, 2006
Usa Female Is not currently on the site
nice info i really wanted to know about this!Great article:allears: :idea:

July 24, 2006
Canada Female Is not currently on the site
Great article!:P

Guest
Guest
June 08, 2006
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Good article!!!! :p

May 13, 2006
Female Is not currently on the site
i wonder too:/:

dDE
DDE
April 05, 2006
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i READ THIS THE STORY OF BALTO TO MY CLASS AND THEY REALLY LIKED IT, I HAD TO READ IT AGAIN THE NEXT DAY.

Wolfgang
Wolfgang
February 19, 2006
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Abby
Abby
February 11, 2006
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:P :P

baltofan01WMP[subAM]
Baltofan
01WMP[su
bAM]
February 10, 2006
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yes we are

Abby
Abby
February 10, 2006
Is not currently on the site
WEll pretty much all of us are showing our love.:P

baltofan01WMP[subAM]
Baltofan
01WMP[su
bAM]
January 24, 2006
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i know abby. i just wanted to shoe my love for him!:P

Writewolf(DVWSP)
Writewol
f(DVWSP)
January 24, 2006
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i thought of that too. great job researching;)

white raven-WMP
White
raven-WM
P
January 24, 2006
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lol i think its good they put that in the sequel

white raven-WMP
White
raven-WM
P
January 24, 2006
Is not currently on the site
I love balto too whhooooo

Abby
Abby
January 24, 2006
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thatis what I callwhen something id messed up or a mistake. and Baltofana, isnt it oviuos that we all are balto fans.Duh ░x░ :P

baltofan01WMP[subAM]
Baltofan
01WMP[su
bAM]
January 24, 2006
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i love balto!!!!!!! who else loves him? dont be shy. i am 14!

CatWhoHas14Tails
CatWhoHa
s14Tails
January 24, 2006
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Finally, some actual history in a Balto sequel! :P

Juuchan17
Juuchan1
7
January 23, 2006
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Movie glitch? What do you mean? It's not a glitch, Abby.

Abby
Abby
January 23, 2006
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Movie glitch Part 3:/:

Juuchan17
Juuchan1
7
January 23, 2006
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Thanks. I did a lot of searching for info about it, and I thought it would make a good article. I'm glad you learned something new! (Heck, I did too!)

kelev
Kelev
January 23, 2006
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I always wondered why it said U.S. Post Office!

baltofan01WMP[subAM]
Baltofan
01WMP[su
bAM]
January 23, 2006
Is not currently on the site
great info there.

me
Me
January 23, 2006
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Wow, great info.:P

Aniu_lupe
Aniu_lup
e
January 23, 2006
Is not currently on the site
Finally an article wich contains info I didn't know :p.Nice information you got there.




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