Secrets of Salt Lake: Brick by brick, the bank was shipped through the mail

Easily the largest object ever moved through the United States Postal Service is the Bank of Vernal. The still-standing building was constructed with bricks that were shipped through the United States Postal Service to save on shipping costs.

In 1916, W.H. Coltharp, wanted to construct a building with textured brick to give it a modern style. He said he wanted to create the largest and most luxurious building between Salt Lake City and Denver. However, shipping the bricks would cost more than four times their worth. After checking the normal postage rate, he realized that he could save money by wrapping and shipping each brick.

The bricks were packaged in 50-pound parcels, seven bricks each, and sent by 40 packages a day. After all was said and done, more than 80,000 bricks were shipped through the parcel system.

The packages followed a shipping path from Salt Lake City to Mack, Colo., via railroad. Next, the bricks were loaded on a train to Watson, Utah. The last leg of the trip was a wagon trail along steep paths. The entire journey was more than 420 miles.

U.S. Postal Service regulations were later changed to limit shipments to 20 pounds per day, per receiver.

The United States Postmaster General Albert Sidney Burleson said in a letter that it is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail.

The Bank of Vernal was registered with the Uintah County Landmark Register in 2008. Currently, Zions Bank operates a branch in the building.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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One Comment

  1. You know… I think that’s actually very cool.

    My great-grandfather helped build almost all of Vernal (Robert Raphael “Bus” Hatch)…. wonder if he had a hand in this too.

    Wouldn’t surprise me in the least *lol*

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