Within two years a man standing in Indianapolis will be able to put his finger on every farmhouse in Indiana – that is, on the map, says the Indianapolis News. This is one of the details of the rural mail delivery experiment that the government is working out in Indiana. If in this state, where the experiment is tried first, it is found to be practicable to locate every farm house and keep a constant record of the changes in location and the building of new houses, it will only be a few years when a person will be able to put his finger on any farmhouse in the country.
The work now being quietly done is the beginning of one of the most interesting records the government has ever made. The announcement is made from Washington that every farmhouse in Indiana is to be reached by rural mail delivery carriers within two years; which means that the work of locating every house in the state will be completed in that time.
Since April 1, seventeen Indiana counties have been supplied with rural mail service. In fourteen of these the work of making a complete record of the rural districts has been completed. Every farmhouse and the population of the country districts have been set forth in carefully prepared maps, which locate all roads and indicate their character – whether dirt or gravel, good or bad.
So complete is this information, by counties, that the 41,997 farmhouses in the fourteen of the seventeen counties have been located down to their very acre. It is found that the rural population of these 41,997 homes is 216,565 persons. Information can be had concerning ages and sex. The following is part of the information compiled for these counties:
The measurements of roads, both gravel and dirt, in counties whose records of this kind have been thus far left vacant are being made now. The statistics for the maps of Gibson, Posey and Delaware counties, whose complete county service was instituted by experts from Washington, are now being compiled in Indianapolis, and it is expected that they will be completed in a short time.
It is not known yet how valuable these complete records will be. There are many ways in which the maps, when completed for the entire state, can be used with very great effect in promoting business, and they will be very valuable for the information of the public if the government decides to give that information by a reproduction of the maps.
-Michigan City Evening Dispatch (Indiana), September 2, 1903