Hope has had a post office since shortly after it was founded in 1830. Martin Hauser applied for a post office just three years after the town was started.
For many years, mail was picked up at the post office instead of being delivered to homes as it is done today. In 1896, U.S. Postmaster General William Wilson convinced the government that rural mail should be delivered directly to the homes. In October of that year, experimental routes were established in Wilson's home county of Jefferson County, Va., and in our own Haw Creek Township.
The two Hope routes continued even after the experiment ended - thus granting our rural mail routes the honor of being the longest continuously operating rural routes in the nation.
Mail delivery was a long, tiring job, with early carriers earning $1 a day - including their own transportation. One of those early mail carriers, Albert Hitchcock, suggested a design for an enclosed buggy for mail delivery. That buggy was produced by the Neligh Carriage Co. in Hope. Use of the buggy or "mail hack" became so widespread, its image began to appear on the emblem of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association.
In October 1975, the Indiana Rural Letter Carriers Association created and dedicated a museum to honor the national distinction. The museum, filled with artifacts from area families, stood in the Hope town square park for decades.
However in 2009, the IRLCA decided that they would no longer maintain the local landmark. The collection now belongs to the Town of Hope, and the Yellow Trail Museum serves as the official stewards of the historic items.
Because the structure has no environmental controls, it was decided in 2014 that the collection needed to be relocated to prevent further deterioration. The structure on the square will be razed and the collection will be temporarily housed and displayed at the Bartholomew County Historical Society's Haw Creek Heritage Center, in Hope, until new display space can be arranged.