The number of individual mailboxes and the number of packages and other delivery points are currently at 159.9 million. And this grows by a million or more each year. Which adds to the Postal Service’s roster. But do you know where can you find the least accessible mailbox in the United States?
The Mojave Desert Mailbox is regarded as America’s most remote and inaccessible mailbox. It’s halfway along the 150-mile, four-wheel-drive-only Old Mojave Rd, which can take three days to complete.
The Least Accessible Mailbox in the US
This isolated mail post, a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts, offers a unique experience for those looking to see some of the country’s rarer spots. The Mojave Mailbox is located on the Old Mojave Road which was previously known as the Mojave Trail in the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California, surrounded by scrub brush and the sweltering high desert.
The Mojave Road is a long and desolate dirt road that takes two to three days to cross in the best of conditions, so the mailbox is almost entirely inaccessible without a high clearance vehicle and four-wheel drive. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
Where Did Mailboxes Come From?
The modern mailbox can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century United Kingdom when the Royal Mail which is the UK’s equivalent of the USPS, pleaded with the public to install mailboxes on their property so that couriers could deliver mail more quickly.
The Royal Mail had existed before this time. Residents were required to visit their local post office to drop off outgoing mail for delivery at a wall-mounted mailbox back then. Couriers could collect and process outgoing mail in less time if the public was encouraged to install mailboxes on their property. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
When Did Mailboxes Make Their Way to the US?
While mailboxes first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1850s, it took the United States another decade to adopt them. In 1863, the United States Post Office Department introduced the Free City Delivery mail service, allowing residents to receive mail at their home address. This prompted many Americans to put a mailbox in front of their house to receive mail without having to go to the post office. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
The Mandatory Mailbox
With the introduction of the Free City Delivery mail service, mailboxes began to spring up from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States. For decades, couriers would walk up to homes and hand-deliver mail to every one of them. According to some reports, this antiquated delivery system costs more than 1.5 hours of lost productivity per day for each mail courier. Postal couriers would frequently spend 10 minutes waiting for a resident to answer the door before delivering their mail. In 1912, the Post Office Department attempted to solve this problem by making mailboxes mandatory.
Mailboxes have undergone numerous design changes since then. In response to rising rates of mail theft, the USPS approved designs for locking curbside mailboxes around the turn of the century. The USPS has also mandated that mailboxes be installed 6 to 8 inches back from the curb. With the advancement of new technologies, some centralized mailbox systems now include a notification system that notifies a recipient when a new package is delivered.
(Source: Mailboxes and Signs)