About Spring River Local Post
Started in Jasper County, Missouri
Still operational in Northwest Arkansas

This photo of Spring River is taken near its origin point, at Youngberg Spring River Park, located just south of Verona, Missouri.
The vegetation growing in the water is watercress, typically a sign of a healthy stream. ©kg0yh

Spring River Spillway at Riverton, Kansas 30 March 2010 © kg0yh
High water stage 

          Spring River Local Post is so named because of the wonderful memories of days I spent on Spring River in Southwest Missouri, as a child, fishing, swimming and all the usual childhood activities.  Spring River emanates 5 million gallons of water a day.  Indian artifacts found there have been dated back to 6,000 years ago.  The river originates in Northern Barry County, Missouri as a confluence of several seeps and springs and travels through Lawrence County and eastern Jasper County, passing through Carthage and heading on over into Kansas, where it turns south, widens considerably, and heads toward Grand Lake O' the Cherokees.  Spring River is known as one of the six “boils”, or springs-- also called "bulls", that were in the Southwest Missouri area.  For an explanation of the origin of the "Six boils" go to: http://www2.drury.edu/sterry/localhistory.htm


          The first official SRLP issue was on August 17, 1983, with the stamp being produced as a “provisional”, with labels from mail-order giant Walter Drake, and consisted of a plain black and white address label; pressed into service as the first local post issue.  The issue also featured first day of use of Mailer's Postmark Permit #2 from Joplin, Missouri 64801.  The Missouri Counties in which Spring River Local Post has subsequently operated were Jasper, Greene, Newton, McDonald, Barton and Phelps.   New SRLP issues for 2010 are tentatively planned to be issued from two Missouri mining cities, Webb City and Oronogo; and one mining town in Kansas; Galena; along with concurrent first day of use of Mailer’s Postmark Permits for those cities.   First Day of use for Noel is to be determined.

Enlargement of recent SRLP issue honoring Brook Hill Local Service, cropped from full size cover.


          The next major issue was from Lamar, Missouri, for the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of President Harry Truman.  Lamar was Truman’s birthplace, (Barton County) and the event also marked the first day of use of Mailer’s Postmark Permit #1 for Lamar, 64759. There were two major varieties of locals for that event, both being tied to cover by a cancel shaped like an outline of Missouri.  I had ordered the label from Walter Drake to be printed with the wording “Harry S Truman”  NOTE: The “S” did not stand for anything, so Missourians say it should be simply the capital letter S, not S  Fearing an error, Drake filled the order with “S.” and to their amazement, I requested a replacement.  Covers exist with both dotted and "dotless" versions of this local, all postmarked on May 8, 1984.  There were 250 of each, and about 50-60 total remained of both, combined.  A large number were done for a pictorial postmark dealer out of Virginia, who sells special cancellations to collectors, and a mailing also went to members of the Mailer’s Postmark Permit Club.  Something not known to me at the time was that the adhesive on the self-sticking labels would eventually deteriorate and all of the stamps have now likely fallen off the backing, with some gum still remaining.


          Unfortunately, all records of SRLP issues from 1983 to 2005 have been lost, due to those records having been illegally sold by my ex-wife during the pendency of our divorce, along with all the covers, specimens and proofs.  I do know that there were several issues during that time period, all imperforate, on several colors of papers. An example which appears on the internet is found at http://www.personal.psu.edu/crr2/turtstmp/current/image_pages/springriver.html   
          On another occasion, there was a trip I made from Springfield, Missouri, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and I made a special stamp for the trip. No more than ten covers were produced.  In practically every instance, the small SRLP round cancel tied the stamps to cover, and the “courier” rubber stamp which cites 18 U.S.C. § 1696 (the section of law that allows operation of local posts) and which was inspired by the rubberstamped marking which Dr. Gale Raymond used on his North Pole covers in 1979 during the Wheeler Expedition; being kind of a “safehand” courier marking, also used for forwarding of international mail.   Raymond described himself as a "lamplighter", a term found at Answers.com as being slang for covert "service" personnel, whose duties include covert surveillance and courier delivery and maintaining safe houses.   I think the duties also included carriage of diplomatic pouches in some instances.  Back issues of the ASPP Journal have examples of the Raymond marking.

          Those series of stamps usually had the wording “W.G. Thorn and Sons, Couriers” in addition to the wording “Spring River Local Post”.  Some of the issues were humorous, such as the Turtle issue, which was meant to poke fun at how fast SRLP delivered, compared to the USPS, which often seems to run at breakneck “turtle” speed.


          On July 1, 2007, about eight separate issues were put into use for the mailing of the Mailer’s Postmark Permit Club's organ Permit Patter, all being “First Day of Use” #10 envelopes.


          I would estimate over the years that there have been 25-30 separate issues, and other collectors may have purchased MPP or LP covers within the last few years at online auctions that may have came from my collection; and I would be most interested in renewing my collection by repurchasing any duplicates.  Some SRLP items have appeared on eBay, and I suspect they were part of the unfortunate parting-out of my collection.


          My first space-related issue was in late 2007, with a special local post issue marking the City of Joplin’s connection with the STS program.  Two local manufacturers provide support for the shuttle program, Eagle-Picher and LaBarge.  The stamp featured the shuttle and wording relating to the two industries in Joplin which produce components.  A single-line marking was also used, stating space shuttle launch.  I continue to service space covers from this off-the-beaten-path space event city, and will do so, up to 5 per event; my Joplin MPP will be used. 

          In 2009, SRLP celebrated the 125th anniversary of the birth of native son, Harry S Truman, and issued some special combo covers, postmarked in both Independence, Missouri, as well as Lamar, Missouri, birthplace of Harry S Truman, 34th President of the United States.  There are still five (5) covers left. If you are interested, contact me.


Latest event: Spring River Local Post carries mail to Union Pacific Steam Locomotive #844
On display during "The Valley Eagle" Heritage Tour at Parsons, Kansas 67357
and also to Coffeyville, Kansas on the return leg

Autographed by the late Lynn Nystrom, Engineer on 844. Nystrom passed away in May 2010, shortly after this exhibition run was completed.



An address for sending your covers to receive the current SRLP treatment is on the Polar Bear Local Post page.

Information and planning for 50th Anniversary of McDonald Territory Private Dispatch, 2011

Back to Polar Philately Page

QSL.net/KG0YH page last updated 28 September 2012