Frontier life could be compared to living in a communications desert. Struggling to survive in your new life, news from afar was eagerly sought, always welcomed.

Post offices were not very formal. They could be as simple as the neighbor’s front porch or the counter at a local drug store. Such examples are still vivid in memories today.

Stagecoach stops were a natural fit for a post office. Post offices established along stage routes in Piatt County were Monticello (previously recorded in Macon County, relisted as Piatt County July 4, 1841); North Bend (previously recorded in Macon County, relisted as Piatt County December 14, 1846); Cerro Gordo (August 19, 1847); and Centreville (August 20, 1856).

As railroads crisscrossed the county, post offices sprang-up along the routes. During the period of 1879 through 1906, there were nineteen post offices in Piatt County. Currently there are only ten.

Technology is changing the way we communicate; distance and time are no longer obstacles. What lies ahead for the postal system? That is as hard to answer today as it will be 10 years from now.


Pat Hunter is the President of the Piatt County Museum board. The Museum, a non-profit agency, operates the Museum Gallery at 104 N. Charter St. in Monticello. For more information on displays and hours of operation, go to