Star Service

In 1845, they imposed a stricter, performance-based classification system on the railroads’ compensation and also established the Star Route service to make carriers’ contracts in remote areas more competitive. The work of getting the rural mail from one post office to another had traditionally been given to local stagecoach proprietors, who could charge the government for one or more horses, a wagon or coach, and a driver. Henceforth, the four-year contracts would be awarded to the lowest bidders, who might need only a mule, a sled, or a canoe to get the job done with “celerity, certainty, and security”—criteria soon abbreviated to the three asterisks that gave the Star Route service its name.