Designer mailboxes on steroids

Source: popularmechanics.com

I was wondering if anybody else has noticed the trend over the past decade or so of extravagant mailboxes becoming a statement of wealth in well-to-do residential neighborhoods? They are most often built out of brick or stone and even at times will be designed to resemble the architecture of the house (see photos). It’s a stupid mailbox, not a cabana, pool house, or even a shed! As long as it protects the mail from the elements, why is it necessary for a mailbox to be a status symbol?

Personally, this comes across as a terrible and selfish waste of money that could be put to much better use helping the poor, the needy, the sick, the unemployed, or the homeless. Who knows if there will be mail or newspaper delivery in the future. If homeowners want to blow their money that much, at least put it to productive use instead of over-inflating their own ego.

House-matching design in stone

Arched brick

Capped brick

Arched concrete on a base

Simply ridiculous square turret with a steep cap

Single-sided flower box

Double-sided flower box

As an urban planner, these super-sized mailboxes can present several problems, including, but not limited to:

  • Are these mailboxes an accessory structure when they are constructed out of concrete, brick, or stone?
  • If they are an accessory structure, are they exempt from setbacks or bring situated in the front yard?
  • Do they violate sight triangle requirements when they get too tall or large?
  • Do they present a greater safety hazard to traffic, especially is icy and snowy weather?
  • Should a building permit be required?

In addition to the designer mailboxes for single-family residences, there are also large multi-box structures now dotting the entrances to apartment complexes and condominium developments. One assumes these are installed for one-stop mail delivery so  the postal carrier does not have to wander about the whole facility. In at least two cases that I know of, they are situated outside the sight triangle for street traffic, but block views of pedestrians and/or cyclists using the adjacent sidewalk (see below).

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4 Responses to Designer mailboxes on steroids

  1. David Hojsak says:

    Well, they are usually built in the public right-of-way. So, does that make them illegal or, at the very least, subject to strict local regulation?

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  2. Well I don’t personally have a problem with these types of mailboxes, I can see your point (although after the number of times the mailman has run over my mailbox, I have seriously considered building a brick one). To me, the reason for this is not so much status as a desperate cry for something to break the monotony of the neighborhoods these people live in. From your pictures it looks like they are all in those wannabe wealthy neighborhoods where the houses are huge, but there’s only three of four floor plans and the front facade may be brick, but the rest is aluminum siding and everyone has the exact same gas station quality landscaping with huge, ultra manicured yet never used lawns and every house’s color pallet ranges from off-white to beige.

    The mailbox is something they can control, something that can be seen by everyone that passes, something that asserts that in fact an individual lives there.

    Could they use the money for better purposes? Of course, but their choice in living arrangement; detached, on too much land, and with the garage as the prominent feature suggests they will fiercely guard their right to do what they want on there land (though if you so much as paint your garage yellow, they will be the first to complain to the housing association). The point is: the concept of not spending their money on something they want is completely foreign to them and frankly there is far more miss-allocated money invested in the houses themselves.

    In summation: I don’t feel anger towards these people so much as pity. They want so desperately to be respected and to have the things they think will make them happy, yet they don’t realize how much they’ve missed the point of life.

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  3. Janet says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of judgement going on here. In many cases, pillars at driveways are required as part of the subdivision, and the style should match the house. The postal service requires a certain height and it has to be right on the curb. No more mailboxes by your front door. And did you consider that many people are just plain sick and tired of having their mailboxes destroyed by vandals? The ones above aren’t going to be knocked down by the neighbor’s drunk teenager and his friends. Really…lighten up.

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  4. John Belk says:

    These mailboxes are insane!

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