Jeff, Other/Just Looking in Livonia, MI

When did they first start building subdivisions with curb mailboxes instead of the ones on houses?

Asked by Jeff, Livonia, MI Wed Apr 15, 2009

I've noticed that in subdivisions built after a certain year, they have all the mailboxes down by the curb. But in older neighborhoods, the mailboxes are all on the houses where the mailman has to walk up to the house and deliver mail. I can't seem to pinpoint an exact year when this transition took place. I know it's sometime around 1972 or 73. Does anyone have a piece of history on that?

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Hello Jeff and thanks for your question.

As I have spent much of my time in forward planning here in California, I can tell you that the trend toward 'curbside' mailboxes began in 1973 during the first oil crisis. At that time, the United States Post Office began requiring boxes to be placed at the curb to reduce delivery times and--what was most important at that time--gas usage for the US mail trucks.

In 1988, the US Post Office again began amending their requirements for postal boxes, and (at least here in California) began asking developers to place "gang boxes" (the multiple unit boxes) within the community rather than curbside boxes. The gang boxes allow the postal worker to turn off the engine, exit the truck and deliver mail to only one point--the place where the gang boxes are located.

Today, almost every state's Uniform Building Codes (UBCs) require that the US Postal service approve both the location and number of boxes on a site before issuing their approval for delivery. If the developer fails to comply with the location and access point for the gang boxes or if homes do not sell quickly enough so that there is 50 percent of more residents in a community, the Postal Service will refuse to deliver mail to the site, and this has created many problems for owners who have moved into new communities where the developer is having a difficult time selling the available inventory of homes.

Thanks again for your post and I hope this answers your question.

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Community Association Manager, Consultant and Forward Planner
Area Pro Realty, San Jose, California
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
Good to know, Grace! My buddy who works for Imperial Mailbox Systems was wondering this same thing the other day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 9, 2014
Thanks, Grace! I always thought it was around the early 70's.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009
Thumbs up,Grace! Interesting answer. i enjoyed the information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
My parents house was built in 1965 in Shreveport,LA & has the curbside mailbox. it is in a subdivision. My former mother in law has the same thing--house built in 1964 in a subdivision in MarylandBaltimore Washington metro area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
Id be curious on the different areas of the country as well. My home in PA was built in the late 1980's and the box is up at the house not the curb.

Sean Dawes
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
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