ANCIENT MAILBOXES

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When I began this page way back in 1999 there were still a number of lamppost mounted small slot mailboxes to be found around NYC, mostly in outlying areas. It seems that one by one they all have disappeared, so this page records a lost species.

 

However, if you see a pebbled concrete post stamped with a date (this one says 1949) at the top like this one in Douglaston that ForgottenFan Vicki is standing next to, all of them once held a slotted mailbox…like these:

 

This ancient mailbox can be found on Palisade Avenue near the Riverdale Station in the Bronx. At one time, small mailboxes like these were standard issue in the five boroughs, but as mail gradually increased in size, larger mailboxes became necessary. For the most part, small mailboxes were mounted on telephone poles as seen here, but they were also mounted on short concrete poles, which also can be found in certain areas.

As you can see, these mailboxes had very small slots which only admitted letters or the thinnest of packages. photo: Jon Halabi

 

 

These two views of the same mailbox were taken about three years after the first picture. The paint has faded just a bit more, and there is a little more graffiti.

I’m not even sure the post office, other than the mailmen assigned to this route, even know this box is there–it would have been removed long ago!

The Carlisle Foundry in Carlisle, VA made this box.

[Gallery not found]

Another box in rural Riverdale, by the Danville Stove Manufacturing Company of Danville, PA, could once be found at Independence Avenue, Hudson River Road and West 254th Street.

 

Ancient, one-slot mailbox still in use at Union Turnpike and 268th Street in Glen Oaks, Queens. This one was from the Bridgeport Castiron Company in Connecticut. Note the concrete post. [Gone by 2003]

Photo by Jeff Saltzman.

This ancient mailbox used to be found at Fingerboard Road and Summer Street in the Rosebank section of Staten Island. It’s also from the Carlisle Foundry. Unfortunately it was replaced by a standard box in 1999.

Photos courtesy Steven Isler.

Meanwhile, in Tottenville…

This ancient mailbox was on the corner of Richmond Valley Road and Madsen Avenue. A US Mail sticker with a modern eagle logo had rather redundantly been placed on the side of the box…right under the embossed US Mail sign. This one was also from the Bridgeport Castiron Company in Connecticut.

 

 

Former mailbox posts in Whitestone and Park Slope.

12/1999





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Categorized in: Street Scenes

6 Responses to ANCIENT MAILBOXES

  1. Corinne Troiano says:

    I remember…..

  2. art lover says:

    I was so glad to see these photos of the mailboxes I remember from my youth. Until now, I had only found photos in black and white. My memory said “red” for the one that was mounted on a street lamp post in our Bronx neighborhood in the early 1940s. But I wasn’t sure—-could I be confusing it with the fire alarm box? In your photos, I see the remnants of red paint on some boxes, and blue on others.
    Riverdale, where some of the boxes you identify were photographed, is west, but in walking distance from where I lived.
    Thanks for posting these photos.

  3. pleas hayes says:

    I have one of these mailboxes in oklahoma and i would like to find out about it such as how old and value please email me if you can answer these questions thank you pleas hayes

  4. Mark says:

    I remember all outgoing mailboxes, whether the small letter-only ones mounted to posts, or the larger stand-alone ones, were painted red and blue in the 1960s. The “body” of the box was blue, while the top part where you drop in the letters or small packages was red. Then around 1971 or so, the began painting them solid blue. This must have been when the US Post OFFICE was changed to the US Postal SERVICE in the early 1970s. I read on wikipedia that the red/blue color scheme was announced in 1955, but prior to that, the color was military green. I’ll have to watch some old movies in color from the 1940s or early 1950s if they have “city street scenes” to see if there are olive-drab green outgoing postal boxes. However, in the 1960s and 70s (and some even survived past then), the USPO/USPS had olive-drab green storage-only boxes on city streets. These were only for the mailman to store excess mail for later pickup while delivering mail on his route. These green boxes were shaped just like a regular stand-alone steetside box, but had no letter-drop opening for the pubic to use. They green boxes were closed up completely, access available only to the mailman with a key.

  5. perry says:

    I have one of these boxes, dated May 1942. I cannot find any collectible information any where. I have it mounted on my patio. I stripped the paint and found about four paint schemes. Red ,white and blue but no set pattern. I got this one in Northern Calif.

  6. Nirmal says:

    One of the things i had to get used to besides the adresses (for example – 124-69 something street), was that mailboxes are not in people’s yards. In Pennsylvania, mail slots were pretty much obsolete, but here, you’re rare if you have a mailbox!

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