Every once in a while a researcher has a question that feels out of the blue. This summer there have been a several questions no one has asked before.

Luckily, our receptionist Ashley is pretty careful about taking messages.

Ashley told me, “John called. He’d like to know where the post office was in White Lake. Will you call him back?”

“Of course I will!” I responded.

I called John. He told me he’d lived most of his life in White Lake and someone was telling him there was a post office that he didn’t remember. Could I find out?

While we were talking, I looked for the key words “post office” and “White Lake” in the Observer database. Nothing came up. I asked John for his email and told him I’d look further.
The second resource was Gwen Koski’s White Lake Pioneers, Milk Pails & Winding Trails.

I thumbed through the book because the index listed families. White Lake Postal Service by Gwen Koski was on page 72. A delightful account emerged.

J.A. Saintabin acted as the Postmaster at Carlin from 1908 until 1924 while operating a mixed farming operation, Koski wrote. The mail was dispatched at Brightwater, which became Tappen Station in 1912. A section man brought the mail to Carlin Post Office, where someone in turn would pick the mail up once a week for the White Lakers.

The story goes that one of the Matt Maki family members would walk or, in bad weather, saddle a horse for the 7.7 km trip to Carlin to pick up the mail. Most White Lake families kept a mailbag at Matt Maki’s, making it easy for some family member to pick up the mail while going by. It was the highlight of the week for the pioneers to meet at the Maki house.

Mrs. J. Mikkelson was the Carlin Postmistress from 1924 to 1932, when the Carlin Post Office was amalgamated with Notch Hill.

With the closing of the Carlin Post Office, the mail was dispatched from Notch Hill, and Art Perry took on the rural route, delivering both mail and groceries every Thursday. Deliveries were increased to twice a week, then to three times a week, and eventually service was increased to six days a week. Sunday was a day of rest. Art Perry sold stamps, brought letters and parcels, and groceries (he and his wife operated a grocery store in Notch Hill). Perry delivered by horse and buggy and sleigh in the winter. Eventually he bought a half ton pick up.

Perry’s service record was exemplary. He rarely missed a day. He also picked up young children at the White Lake School at 2:30 p.m. and brought them home as he delivered mail on his route.

Perry was over eighty when he retired. He had spent 30 years in the delivery business, packing it in after he had an accident at the Balmoral Store corner.

The Notch Hill Post Office amalgamated with Sorrento in 1973 and a new post office was built there.

Gwen concluded, mail couriers seldom carry stamps these days, deliver parcels, or take children home as Art Perry did, but White Lake residents do get mail five times a week.

Gwen had summarized the history well. There was no post office. Mail was delivered to the Maki house. The Makis lived on Pakka Rd. before building a second home on White Lake Road. I trusted my researcher to find their exact locations.


For more information about the author, Gwen Koski, click here.