Rural Mailboxes and Meter Houses

Along the routes between our house and two of the three trailheads on Sleeping Giant are several interesting structures such as I’ve never seen anywhere else we’ve lived. Creative mailbox installations are not new to me, but the unique shelters created so that utility meters can be read from the road are something else altogether. This was the first to grab my attention.

Shelter for utility meters, "Meter House" with Terracotta roof.
Terracotta Meter House

Unfortunately, the residence to which this meter house belongs was getting a new green composition roof on the day I photographed the matching meter house.

Spanish style home
Spanish Tiled Residence

Shaked roofs, although more common on out buildings than on houses because of rapid decay in our hot, wet, tropical climate, often mimic the residence in the background.

House and mailbox with shaked roof.
Shaked Roof

Some meter houses have only a simple roof. As you can see, this is not the most durable shelter, but fortunately, the populated side is in fairly good shape.

meter house with plywood roof
Noble Shelter

While some mailboxes are quite elaborate, many are merely painted by their artist owners. This one reminds me of the Pacific Northwest with its fish head and tail.

mailbox decorated with tin fish head and tail
Salmon Mailbox

…and here is a lovely passion fruit bouquet on a mailbox.

lilikoi blossoms painted on mailbox
Lilikoi Mailbox

Some meter houses are quite spartan, a basic design that is fully functional, as shown below.

Basic Design. Painted Lumber and Asphalt Shingles
Purely Functional Meter House

Still others are clearly identified with the house number (and at one time, I imagine would have had a roof that matched the house as well).

Utility Meters with house number on shelter
Meter House with House Number

I love this particular mailbox, for a local bed & breakfast, because it is actually a model of the house!

model of house as mailbox
B&B Mailbox

Meter houses borrow various architectural treatments from the residences, such as this T111 sided box.

Meter box constructed with T111 siding
Meter House Constructed with T111 Siding

Stone veneer forms the base of this mailbox, just like the house.

Mailbox mounted in stone.
Stone Mailbox

…and sometimes the mailbox matches the fence.

Mailbox mounted in bamboo pillar
Bamboo Mail Box

Meter houses are sometimes quite massive, more likely to endure a major storm than any of the houses.

Block house for utility meters
Meter in a Block House

So much of the beauty of the hike occurs before you get into the woods (jungle), and makes the journey to the trailhead at least as exciting as discoveries along the trail. And this is just tiny sample because all of these are less than two miles from home.


3 thoughts on “Rural Mailboxes and Meter Houses

  1. I’ve noticed the meter boxes and never thought twice about it, but you’re right, very unique! I’ll be looking for them on our next visit.


  2. Isn’t it expensive to run the electric all the way from the house out to the street meters. Is that a requirement on the island?


    1. Not sure about the cost (most run underground from meter to house), but I do know from my childhood that buying utility poles and wire from the electric company to run down a long driveway to the house can be prohibitive. Many of the roadside meters appear to have been installed where the temporary post was erected during construction, so instinct tells me going underground to the house(s) must be cheaper than purchasing a half dozen utility poles and all that wire. As an added bonus, you don’t have all those creosoted poles spoiling your view.


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