Elegant, efficient mail chutes still in use across Canada, U.S.

The mail chute letterbox located in the lobby of Pennsylvania’s Hotel Bethlehem’s dates back to the building’s 1922 construction. Submitted photo.

Apostal history relic dating back to the golden age of early skyscrapers, the mail chute remains an integral part of many buildings’ iconic stories. A logistical godsend for late 19th-century letter writers and postal carriers alike, mail chutes came on the scene in the 1880s alongside taller office and residential buildings plus the first modern skyscrapers. As urbanization brought more and larger cities to Canada and the United States, and with mail as the main form of communication, postal officials on both sides of the border sought ways to accommodate fast-growing mail volumes. “Mailboxes and their chutes were once as essential to the operation of any major hotel, office, civic, or residential building as the front door,” wrote Karen Greene and Lynne Lavelle in their 2014 book Art Deco Mailboxes. Continue reading →

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