U.S. Postal Service carrier Mark Lipscomb places letters into a mailbox along the Magnolia River while delivering mail from his 15-foot aluminum boat on the only water delivery route in the country. The water route around Magnolia Springs, Alabama serves about 180 homes and Lipsomb has worked the water for the past nine years. The water delivery service started around 1915 because of poor road conditions. Now it is a rare tradition that Lipscomb hopes to keep alive. Ben Twingleyfirstname.lastname@example.org
MAGNOLIA SPRINGS, ALA. - Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night - or even alligators - stays this appointed courier from his rounds.
OK, the odd hurricane may delay delivery for a day or two.
Lipscomb has been delivering mail to people who live along Week's Bay
and the Magnolia and Fish rivers for nine years. His mode of
transportation isn't the usual white U.S. Postal Service vehicle. It's a
15-foot-long Alumacraft boat with a semi-V hull.
"It's a unique job. It's a very special job," Lipscomb said. "It has its share of challenges."
Lipscombworks the only water delivery mail route in the country, said Debbie
Fetterly, spokeswoman in Alabama for the U.S Postal Service. The route
started in 1915. While budget troubles have forced the closure of
several post offices the last couple of years, there are no plans to
close this route, which serves about 180 homes along its 31 mile length,
takes Lipscomb about two hours each day to sort the mail at the
Magnolia Springs post office, located about 35 miles west of Pensacola
in Baldwin County. Boating the route usually takes about four hours a
day. The craft rarely comes to a complete stop and residents sometimes
leave their mailboxes open for speedy insertion.
see alligators all the time when it's warm. Snakes, bobcats, deer, a
lot of hawks. Sometimes you see bald eagles," he said. "This part of
Baldwin County is very populated, but once you get on the river, it's
Holk has lived along Magnolia River for 35 years. He and his wife,
Lolly, have raised three children on the river. He serves as mayor
pro-tem for Magnolia Springs.
your mail delivered by boat is a lot like getting it delivered the
regular way," he said. "You get bills you don't want and you get junk
mail you don't want. The difference is our mailboxes face the water, not
But there is a downside to water delivery, Holk said.
mailbox is a little too low," he said. "I went out to get the mail
recently and it was a little damp. We had an especially high tide that
day. So if you don't mind damping mail occasionally, there are no real