The Only Floating Post Office In The World Sits In Michigan’s Detroit River
This has got to be one of the more notable pieces of Michigan trivia! With the Great Lakes surrounding us it's no wonder we've learned to adapt to this "water wonderland." For example, we've got pizza delivery by plane or jet ski, we've got water taxis, and we can lay claim to the fact that we've got the "only floating post office in the world."
Now we're not just talking about some boat that delivers mail, no. This floating post office is so legit it's got its own zip code!
John Ward Westcott
The original JW Westcott, John Ward, was an American ship captain who founded his Westcott Company in Detroit to ferry supplies to passing ships in 1874. At the time, he was the youngest captain on the Great Lakes.
Captain Westcott created a system to deliver messages to passing freighters that the U.S. Postal Service took notice of. The USPS was so impressed by Captain Westcott's efficient delivery system that eventually they granted his vessel its own zip code: 48222.
JW Westcott II
Today the vessel named after the notable captain operates as the only floating post office in the world. In order to have mail delivered to passengers on passing freighters, the sender must address their mail as such: Vessel Name, Marine Post Office, Detroit, Michigan, 48222.
To deliver the mail the JW Westcott II drives up alongside the freighter at the same speed. Mail carriers then utilize a system of ropes and buckets to deliver the mail aboard the freighter. They can even deliver boxes and packages too thanks to specially designed supply boats!
According to Atlas Obscura, the "mail in a pail" has delivered everything from love letters, toilet paper, cigarettes, and even a goat!
Says one floating mail carrier,
These people rely on us to get them their stuff...I go out in all kinds of weather, at all hours of the day to try to make sure that they get it.