Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Cool" Mailbox

near Esterbrook, WY

The US Postal Service was a lifeline for isolated ranches in the Laramie Peak area in the 1970s. The ranches often had unique mailboxes, but this old refrigerator was definitely the most creative. Large packages were placed in the bottom of the refrigerator; regular mail, in the freezer section. The mail left in the box was safe from the elements and from domestic and wild animals. The "mailbox" also served as a landmark and was useful in giving directions.

Many of the ranches had one-room schools because it was too far to bus students to the closest towns of Laramie, Wheatland, Douglas, or Glendo. One of my good friends taught on a ranch for several years: he had two students.  Some small, isolated schools are still open in Wyoming; however, they are not as common as they were in the 70s. This article explains a situation very similar to my friend's ranch school experience - scroll down to the sub-headline, "Teaching Challenge."

I'm sure today's postal regulations would not allow mail to be delivered to this "mailbox."


  1. I would have never guessed it was being used as a mailbox. I would have thought it had just been dumped there. Clever.

  2. Too cool. I wonder if the USPS would still use it as a mail box today because it doesn't fit regulations... and then there is the possibility a child could get into the box and suffocate. And --- life was simpler in the 70's.

  3. Best mailbox ever, and I love the idea of one room schools with just a couple students across the plains of America. Thanks for an interesting post!!

  4. I was fascinated when I learned that my Texas cousins had neighbors with "shopping centers" on their ranches. What no one really explained to grade school me was that the ranches covered more ground than the city nearest us...

  5. Now that is funny. I don't think mail would be delivered there today in Wyoming....who knows :)

  6. Very interesting! I can appreciate your wide open spaces, as I have to drive 20 miles to get my mail and 60 miles to the first grocery store!
    My nieces and nephews all attended a one room school. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I checked out the article - very interesting. I am an import to nebraska, but was born in Chicago, but raised on a small farm near Chicago.

    I had the same teacher for 8 grades, with only 40 max. at my country school, (a gazillion years ago!!!). When we moved to western Nebraska in 1998, and saw some of the vastness of the sandhills, I always wondered how the schools were managed if the kids didn't want to board in town. Thanks!

    Mailbox? It wasn't covered with graffitti yet! 8-))

  8. I have to admit I've never seen a refrigerator for a mailbox...yes, very "Cool" !!!


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