The Bank That Came Through the Mail

In 1916, entrepreneur W. H. Coltharp wanted the exterior of the Bank of Vernal made from durable fired bricks made in Salt Lake City. It just so happens that the post office had just begun a new service — parcel post. Since sending the bricks by commercial freight wagon was far too expensive and parcel post rates were half that cost, Coltharp decided, “Well, let’s mail them.” They wrapped each brick individually, put them into crates of 10, and shipped them……a lot of them. In fact, it’s estimated that there were 80,000 bricks. They went mostly by rail — the longer way around — and by ferryboats the rest of the way: 427 miles, and it cost the post office a fortune. Initially the bank officers asked if the post office could just drop the bricks off right at the bank, but they were told they had to go into the post office and receive them over the counter. Pretty soon, tons of bricks were stacked up all around the post office. The post office then set a limit of 200 pounds a day from one person to the same recipient, but by the time they could implement the new rule, the bank had been built. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, they didn’t mail the entire building, just the exterior bricks. Still, it was an idea that went over like …... well, a ton of bricks.