By Siobhan Hagan
My previous blog entry mentioned two U.S.P.O. films shot in the unknown destination of St. Georges, Maryland. After very little time spent on research this week, I discovered that St. Georges is indeed the place where I grew up! No one calls it that anymore, and the only inkling of that name is the street on which I lived as a child, St. Georges Station Road.
All it took was one call to the Reisterstown Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (my first library card was obtained from this fine establishment) and the mystery was solved. I was informed that St. Georges was a stop on the Western Maryland Railroad (or Railway) and St. Georges was the area surrounding the station. A few stops in Reisterstown were St. Georges, Glyndon, and Emory. The only train station that is still standing of those three is Glyndon, which is now the Post Office–a building I have passed many times in my life–which seems so very appropriate in light of the subject matter of these short films.
The films were produced by the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company on September 21, 1903. They show a new innovation of non-stop mailbag pick-up via trains, each film from a different viewpoint of the process. “Train Taking Up Mail Bag, U.S.P.O.” shows the pick-up from outside of the train, and “Inside Car, Showing Bag Catcher” is pretty self-explanatory. Unfortunately the latter film, while easily found on the Internet last week, seems to have disappeared (if you find it, please contact me!).