Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mailbox baseball & rural vernacular design

If you live in the country and your mail is delivered to a mailbox, you are familiar with mailbox baseball. Bored teenaged boys drive around the countryside under the cover of night and bash the boxes. Although the homeowner is responsible for buying, installing, and maintaining it, the mailbox is federal property and bashing it is a crime. In both Canada and the US, bashers face significant fines or imprisonment if caught.

Country folk are resourceful out of necessity. Mailboxes aren't cheap and once you've replaced one a few times, you start to design creative solutions. The bulls-eye mailbox is made of welded steel plate, mailbox #3 is made of a discarded rubber belt from a tomato harvester, and mailbox #4 has steel structure enclosing it. On a recent drive in the Ontario countryside I photographed the above mailboxes. I also saw mailbox posts made of 4 inch steel, some made of poured concrete, and another with cement blocks threaded over a steel post. Necessity is the mother of invention. 

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