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URBAN HIKE

Marvelous Mailboxes of Santa Barbara
updated: Oct 22, 2011, 9:00 AM

By The Urban Hikers, Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we continued our quest to walk all 256 miles of public streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara, and rather than tell you about a specific hike or neighborhood we've experienced, we feel compelled to share with you photos of some of the cool mailboxes we've spied along the way.

With mailboxes, we've noticed that very often a neighborhood adopts a theme. Once one resident starts with a particular motif or style, others seem to follow suit... almost as though there's a collective consciousness of mailbox ornamentation. Animals seem to be popular in several neighborhoods. They always make us very cheery.

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Another very popular theme is architecture. Sometimes it mirrors the home to which it belongs, and sometimes it doesn't. We're always tickled to find a homemade mailbox, and especially like those that look like they've been part of the family forever.

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Some mailboxes seem to exude happiness...

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While others come across as downright irritable.

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And we've passed many examples of cooperative neighbors working together to make impressive banks of boxes. We like the last example of these mailboxes because they have some of the most unusual numbering we've come across.

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This box is simply special for its simple beauty.

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And this mailbox is an example of what we believe is the most ubiquitous "specialty" box in town. Virtually every neighborhood in Santa Barbara can boast this style of mailbox.

We wonder if perhaps, a few years ago, a traveling salesman came through with a special sale on this box...

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Of all the choices we had to show you, the "most ubiquitous box" in town, we chose the one pictured above because we appreciate its setting. In fact, many of our favorite mailboxes are standouts because of how they are placed, and what surrounds them.

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Sometimes interest in a mailbox can lead to a new friendship. Like this scarab- decorated number we found along the way. Just as we were admiring it and taking a few photos, the homeowner pulled into her driveway. She explained that the scarab is an important symbol to her husband and her. In fact, they had the mailbox custom made after using a scarab in the design of their wedding rings. Very beautiful, indeed.

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We've passed and photographed so many marvelous mailboxes along our routes that we find it almost impossible to select just a few to share with you. These are examples of the hundreds of boxes that have caught our eyes, and made our hikes just that much more interesting. We're almost certain we'll have to write a follow-up article with even more of these whimsical neighborhood features.

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And while we realize it isn't nice to play favorites, sometimes we just can't seem to help ourselves. These are a couple of our favorites.

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And lastly, during a hike this week, we encountered this Halloween inspired mailbox...Not only did it make us laugh, but it also gave us the idea to share with you examples of the ways in which your fellow Santa Barbarians decorate their homes in honor of the spooky event. So stay tuned next week for more ghostly, goblin-y, cute and downright scary pics of the fabulous homes of Santa Barbara.

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As always, we encourage you to get out on foot, wander the streets of Santa Barbara, take an urban hike of your own and see what your neighbors are up to. You won't regret it - we promise!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 POWDRELL agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 09:11 AM

Awesome article and photos of the wonderfully creative residents of our community. Thanks.

 

 COMMENT 224783 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 09:53 AM

Excellent! Bravo!

 

 COMMENT 224785 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 10:23 AM

Thanks posting these there are so many artistic/creative mail boxes here. This is the sort of thing one could make a coffee table book out of.

 

 COMMENT 224809 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 12:16 PM

the animal mailboxes are very cute, the cow especially. and i LOVE the cat - glad you put in two pictures of that one since the profile is just as cute as the face. i also think the one that is painted like a hot wheels car is funny because it looks like it belongs to a fancy house with an automatic front gate. i can only imagine that it's the mailbox for a really big mansion. i'll bet there are some cool nascar dudes who live in that house and get their mail from that mailbox.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 01:55 PM

Thank You.

 

 AQUAHOLIC agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 03:36 PM

L O V E these! Big fan of mailboxes, and more so of people's creativity with the humble device. I bet mail carriers enjoy them too!

 

 COMMENT 224906P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 10:28 PM

I second!! Coffee book for sure! Who's a local book printing company. Of course it will have to be sold at Chaucer's.

EXCELLENT! Can't wait to see the Halloween decorations. Always been my favorite holiday.

 

 BULLSEYEB agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 11:35 PM

Thanks for sharing these! :)

 

 COMMENT 224915P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-23 06:25 AM

Thanks for the article. Yes, this shows how creative local residents can be compared to many other places. Wonder if there's a similar community with unusual mail boxes in, for example, Orange County.

 

 COMMENT 224981 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-23 11:15 AM

I realize it is outside the city limits, but go up on Mountain Drive - David Shelton has done some hiliarious artwork up there. If you know his brother Jeff and the whimsical take on life they have, you'll recognize the ironwork in a heartbeat! Drive up Coyote to Mountain and you should find it there or near...sorry I can't be more specific. Those of you who know can guide the rest...

 

 COMMENT 225012P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-23 12:16 PM

Never noticed the "ubiquitous" mailbox was so common in SB, yet it's what is in our front yard! :)

 

 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-23 05:31 PM

Great photos, neat to decorate a mailbox. I've been wanting to make mine like the tiled one. Don't know what to use to make the tiles/shells stick on.

 

 PENZ agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-23 11:29 PM

Love the halloween cat! (Of course, I do! ) I have a "smashed witch" on the front of my car for the entire month of October!

Halloween is my favorite holiday!

I adore your posts!

and you are not only entertaining us; you are remaining fit!!!

Penelope

 

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