Back in the days before email, text messaging and overnight FedEx deliveries, smartly uniformed delivery boys—like the ones shown here in downtown Cleveland, Ohio—relied on fleets of sturdy bicycles and pedal power to deliver telegrams and other communications. In fact, accounts of bike messengers date back to the 1870s in Paris.
“These boys worked for the Postal Telegraph Co., where my father worked as an office manager until about 1938 or 1939,” writes Bob Gazso of North Olmsted. “The photograph was taken in 1936. The office also had a marching band that took part in local parades.”
Irish immigrant John Mackay, who made a fortune from the fabled Comstock Lode silver find in Nevada during the 1850s, founded the Postal Telegraph Co. in the 1880s to compete against the giant Western Union Telegraph Co.
These bikes carry signs promoting the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town at the Hippodrome, one of Cleveland’s grand old picture palaces. The legendary Frank Capra directed the 1936 comedy starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur.