Looks like he has a lot of supplies to deliver. Someone is peeking out the front door.
In 1915, Inverness had only existed a couple years, the area had just been opened to homestead and there was a new farm on every quarter or half section. The mail was the lifeline to the rest of the world. This probably was getting close to Christmas looking at the length of the shadows and the angle of the sun. It is abut 75 miles from the Canadian border. The street runs somewhat north and south but IIRC it is perpendicular to the railroad tracks so isn't right on the N/S line. Notice the power poles. They had electricity or telephones by then.
I doubt they had electricity. Phones or telegraph would be likely. Other than big cities very little of the United States had home or business electricity in 1915.
The big mining areas of Montana had electricity early. Late 1890's and on. Towns like Butte
were largely electrified by 1900. I have a lot of early equipment and hardware out of these service
areas. The decline of mining and the general arid nature of the region allowed much of the early
infrastructure to survive in service until very recently, when upgrades finally doomed them to be
Here is a pole along the Hauser-to-Butte line, still in service 110 years after being erected ! This
line was largely unmolested over it's entire length of 90 miles until it all came down a couple years
ago. And it probably could have done another 110 years if only the wood was replaced !
Inverness is way outside my scope of familiarity to say if they had electricity, but as Royce pointed
out, much of rural America was not electrified until the 1930's as part of the REA.
Nearly every town along the major railroads in Montana had electrical service by 1915. When the Milwaukee came west in 09 they brought telegraph and telephone service along the road, within a year or two they had "highline" power to many of the towns. Ismay had a generator system at first but when the Milwaukee electrified in 1920 high line power became available and the generator system was shut down and sold.
Inverness was on the Great Northern which came west in 1890, completing the northern rail line across the continent in Senic, Washington in 1893. When the rail line connecting the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern was completed in about 1895 connecting Butte, Great Falls and Havre, Montana electrical power from the generators on the Missouri River at Ryan Dam in Great Falls and the Georgetown dam west of Butte powered the new Gold/Silver/Lead smelter at Great Falls and the rail towns along the railroads east and west for hundreds of miles. Inverness is just west of Havre, near Chester and was and is right along the Great Northern Route. My guess is they had electricity in Inverness by 1915. REA or the Rural Electric Association did not come to a lot of rural Montana until the 1950's but the towns all had power long before that. As I said, the towns along the Milwaukee had power as early as 1920, most of the larger towns had generating stations until they got high line power and most of the towns along the Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Union Pacific had power before that.
Here is a link to Inverness: https://www.google.com/search?q=inverness+montana&biw=1920&bih=1085&tbm=isch&tbo =u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQsARqFQoTCL-35afJ3MgCFZQxiAodrZQKXg
Some of the largest grain farms in the world are in that area. A friend of mine who farms there is farming -- actually tilling, planting and harvesting -- over 36,000 acres. I don't think that is the biggest in the area, just the biggest one I know of personally. It's only a couple hundred miles from where I live and I've gone two or three times and watched them harvesting with combines with 40+ foot headers.
Looks like it was more "hopping" in 1915 than today.
Like a lot of those homestead towns, it served its purpose and time has moved past it. The passenger trains still go east and west on the tracks laid 125 years ago but they don't stop. The grain no longer comes into the country elevator by the wagon load, now it goes into the terminal at Chester or Havre by the semi trailer load and is loaded in boxcars by the hundreds and hundreds every fall to be shipped around the world. Tractors farm more in a day than a dozen farmers could farm in a year in those days. There just isn't a lot of reason for those small towns to exist except for the school and the post office and a few small businesses. Kind of sad to see them go.
Looking the same direction in the street today. The building in the background with the three double windows showed up from this angle and can be seen in Jays photo from 1915.
The new post office is in the right foreground but the building that appears over the Model T in the old photo is still there.
Probably tore down the old P.O. to build the new. The cost of progress.
Ken in Texas
It's hard to be "a star" when you live a small town life. Being "a star" is where it's at
these days. American Idol, rock star phone apps, who has time for working the farm ?
B'sides, that's dirty and yucky and actually involves work. Stars don't work. They party,
don'cha know ?