“Not the most beautiful portions of the U. S. are the Carolinas. Apart from the sea islands to the east and the mountains to the west, the bulk of both States is flat, sandy, scrubby, down-at-heel. Yet local pride burns high. The Carolina Motor Club of Charlotte decided that the ugliest excrescences on their land’s flat face were the rural rows of raffish, rusty mail boxes propped on old wagon wheels and rotting fence posts. Prize money was assembled, and the Rural Mail Box Improvement Campaign was launched.
“The North Carolina prize committee, chairmanned by Author Struthers Burt (“The Diary of a Dude Wrangler,” “Festival”), [awarded] $5 to B. B. Britt of Garner. Mr. Britt’s mailbox [had been] propped on a fence rail between tin signs advertising Coca-Cola and a tonic known as DR. PEPPER (“Good for Life”). Beautifier Britt took down these signs, cleared away assorted lengths of rusting barbed wire, old tomato cans, broken peach baskets, bits of kindling, corn stalks. Then he bowered his mailbox in flowering vines, shrubs, sun flowers, and a border of sweet alyssum.
“There were also $1 prizes for Lula Williams at Autryville, who moved her mailbox to an oak tree and planted petunias around it, and for Mrs. Z. I. McBane of Graham, who put her mailbox into what looked like an outhouse on stilts.”
— From Time magazine, Jan. 21, 1935