The first Western Springs post office was established in 1873 with Mr. Hill as the Postmaster. Mr. Hill, who later went on to become the first village President, used his home for a base and asked local residents who worked in the city to help him out by bringing the mail back with them on the train.
William Thacher, a man of means in the village, became Postmaster in 1885. Due to the nature of his work, he was in Chicago most days so he asked Nancy Watson to become his deputy. Miss. Watson was born in Newcastle, PA before moving to Bridlewood, IL where she taught school for 12 years and later became a Principal. She then came to Western Springs to be near her sister. At the end of her term as deputy (1885-1889), Watson’s efficiency and faithfulness won her the position of Postmistress, which she held until William Collins became Postmaster in 1903. According to the US postal records at the Smithsonian, Miss. Watson was paid an annual salary of $27!
Residents recall that the post office would often smell like skunks as there was a gentleman who like to mail his skunk pelts!
Women’s suffrage came to Illinois by degrees. At that time, women were only permitted to vote in school board elections so the appointment of a woman as Postmistress was quite an accomplishment in the late 1800’s!