Famous for its ghost town status, Rowley still had until recently an operating counter Post Office, ran from Lucille and Terry Hampton’s house, serving around 14 residents and opened Mondays to Fridays.
However, following Canada Post review, this post office was marked as a rural outlet under review with a view to phasing it out and was closed down in early December.
Postal service in Rowley started in 1913 when George Swallow Senior became the first postmaster and ran it from his general store. Between 1911 and 1913, his son, Henry Swallow would bring the post from Rumsey to Rowley for distribution.
The Swallows ran the post office for a record 56 years until 1967. In March 1968, Jack and Beryl MacFarlane took it over. When Jack passed away in 1970, Beryl carried on running it until she retired in May 1976.
The post office was then closed for a few months to be re-opened in 1977 with Betty Morell as postmistress. After two years the Morells left the area and the Thomson family from Drumheller ran it for a year. Margaret and Hugh Crossan took it on from 1980 and more recently, Terry and Lucille Hampton operated it until its closure in December 2009. Incidently, George Swallow Senior was the father of Terry Hampton’s uncle, Henry Swallow.
In 2004, the post office was issued with its own cancel, which pictured the now famous Sam’s Saloon.
A super mailbox has now been put in place opposite the old post office, however, residents will now need to go to Morrin or Drumheller if they wish to send or receive larger parcels.
Rural post offices have played an important role in the history and ongoing daily life of rural Canadians and Rowley’s post office was no exception. Chris Foesier, Community president, told The Mail: “the post office was the last permanent piece of business in town. It was a way to catch up on the goings on in town, you went to get your mail from a person, now you walk up to an iron box and get your mail from it. The only benefit that I have heard that’s really good is that you can get your mail any time you want, you can get your mail at 1 in the morning!”