Note: This article has been updated for summer 2023. Letterboxing is a wonderful outdoor activity that can be done individually or with family and friends.

By 1808Delaware

Over 150 years ago, visitors to the Dartmoor region of southwest England began to do something rather peculiar. Those hiking on the moors would place a letter or postcard inside a designated box along the trail as a mark that they had visited. Those who would come after them would, in turn, post letters back to those who had left them. Soon, these “letterboxes” were carefully hidden so that they would be difficult to discover. As this habit grew in popularity, the hobby of letterboxing was born.

In the early part of the last century, a logbook was used for visitors to record their presence along a given trail. Then, shortly after the beginning of the 20th century, a rubber stamp was placed in a box for further proof that a visit had taken place. By the century’s last decades, the pastime had crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and letterboxing became popular across America.

The standard letterbox is a small container carefully hidden in a publicly accessible place — often in parks, nature areas, cemeteries, etc.. Similar to their modern cousins, geocaches, with letterboxes clues to the box’s location are created with various levels of difficulty instead of GPS coordinates. Each letterboxer will have his or her own logbook and rubber stamp – some store bought, but often hand carved. When a letterbox is found, the visitor will sign in to the box logbook with his or her own stamp, and then take the box’s own unique stamp to add to his or her logbook.

Variations of standard letterboxes, including “hitchhikers” or “travelers,” which travel from one letterbox to another (often for months or years), and “virtual” letterboxes, which have online clues and locations.

It is not uncommon for letterboxes to be associated with a particular location and to have short narratives about history and nature. It is also a pastime which can be enjoyed by generations together, and can provide a good reason to get out and experience one’s natural surroundings.

Delaware County has long had a number of hidden letterboxes, and now boasts at least 30 of them. According to the main online locations for letterboxing information and clues, the following are among active Delaware County letterboxes, with dozens more within easy driving distance.

  • Another Pioneer’s Quest Perhaps?
  • Ashley’s Treasure
  • Mr. Potato Head in the 1950s
  • The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial
  • Can You Hear the Crickets?
  • Goofy Faces – Oak Grove Cemetery
  • Leggo of my Lego – Build What You Want
  • Cryptic Carving
  • Puppy Love
  • Scooby Doo Visits the Dog Park

For more information on the hobby, atlasquest.com provides a good introduction and clues to several of the above boxes. For letterboxes within a 30 mile radius of Delaware, click here. For more clues, visit letterboxing.org.

Photo: Creative Commons

1808AM
Sign up here for 1808AM, our incredible weekday morning enewsletter, bringing you the latest Delaware County news -- for free!
You May Also Like

The Intel From Intel: The Latest From The Silicon Heartland For The Weekend Of March 5-6

By 1812Blockhouse Each weekend here at 1808Delaware and 1812Blockhouse we present “The…

Unveiling The Beauty Of Hogback Ridge Park

By 1808Delaware Situated on 2656 Hogback Road in Sunbury lies a hidden…

Orange Road Project Public Meeting Announced

This meeting aims to shed light on the project details, timelines, and impact.

Wildflower Area To Be Created With NatureWorks Grant

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has just approved more than…