This Week in Colorado History: Mailing, Murder, and Merriment

Golden Postmaster Ed Dennis reminded the public of the postal service’s policies in light of the holiday season this week in 1923. Dennis and the post office recommended local mail be sent no later than December 22 for Christmas delivery. Mail traveling less than a day’s journey needed to be sent no later than December 21, with mail going two days away sent by December 18, three days on December 16, and anything farther than that on December 14.

In addition to scheduling, Dennis expounded upon the post office’s wrapping concerns. As the Colorado Transcript reported, “Christmas stamps and stickers may be placed on parcels but NOT ON THE ADDRESS SIDE [emphasis original].” The stickers could not closely resemble postage and could not be used to seal packages, although some sort of seal was mandatory. The office reserved the right to reject insufficiently wrapped packages.

In more serious news, Joe McGonigal was sentenced to death by hanging in March for the murders of Ella Centers and Mines student Wilbur Ferguson in June, 1922. While serving as a coal mine guard, McGonigal shot Ferguson, killing him instantly. He then “chased out of the boarding house and shot to death” Centers. Ferguson, who was athletic and very popular at Mines, had also been working at the mine as a watchman.

Clear Creek Valley Grange No. 4, currently the Arvada Festival Playhouse and the oldest building in Arvada, made preparations to celebrate its fiftieth birthday on December 8, 1923. The event was recommended to all Jefferson County residents interested in the Grange and was to feature a birthday supper from 5-8 PM. “The Colorado Transcript” reported, “The committee in charge assures everyone an event that they will always remember and all are urged to take advantage of the generous invitation.”
“The Colorado Transcript” also reminded its readers about the upcoming due date for all 1919 war savings stamps. The “little blue stamps worth $5.00 each” needed to be brought to the post office by January 1, 1924, so that bearers could receive their checks from the Federal Reserve. The paper also reminded bearers that the certificates had to be “signed personally by each owner in the presence of the postmaster.”

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