This paper uses Post Office (PO) petitions to uncover the complex spatial relationships that developed through the unique social space of the PO. These petitions were signed by the rural people of Middlesex County, Ontario, and submitted to the Postmaster General in order to request changes in the workings of their postal services. When used in a historical GIS they allow us to recreate and reconstitute postal communities in late-19th-century rural Middlesex. By observing the spatial relationships that surrounded the collective requests for changes in postal services, we show how the space of the post office reinforced and helped form rural community and neighbourhood networks. The participation of the post offices users who signed and conducted the petitions is developed at each level of the paper, showing that rural Ontarians were deeply involved in interpreting and altering their own community and neighbourhood landscapes.
Rural Landscapes: Society, Environment, History
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Van Allen, Nicholas and Lafreniere, Don, "Rebuilding the Landscape of the Rural Post Office: A Geo-Spatial Analysis of 19th-century Postal Spaces and Networks" (2016). Department of Social Sciences Publications. 1.