Metal mailbox man spreads joy throughout the seasons

Jun 29, 2020

ROCHESTER — With Fourth of July events canceled, residents are trying to show their support for the nation on their own terms. One man is proudly standing on Walnut Plain Road with a hat, a flag and a mailbox in hand. Meet Ollie, the metal man who belongs to the St. John family.

Stephen St. John, who welded Ollie together with his son Eric eight years ago, said that “it gives us all something to smile about.”

For the last two years, Barbara St. John has been decorating Ollie to go along with the seasons. Her favorite one so far was her first on Halloween in 2018 when he donned black hair, a broom and a witch’s hat.

During coronavirus, Ollie had on a mask to protect himself and the mail carrier, and Barbara said she is excited for August when he will sport a bathing suit, floaties and scuba goggles. 

Inspired by a company in Florida who makes a similar product, Stephen figured that he could make it for less money with the spare metal rods he has from his portable welding business.

With a $350 coat of bright orange paint job and a pair of bolts to hold it into the ground, Ollie now stands tall on the side of the road by the mailbox.

When they were building it, Stephen said that him and his son “just did it for the fun of it.”

Now, every time Stephen posts a new costume on Facebook, he said the posts rack upwards of 200 likes. 

The family has seen bikers and walkers stop to take photos, and an entire family once stopped on the side of the road to snap a family photo. Barbara said she always sees people smiling when she is decorating Ollie for a new season. 

“People love it,” Barbara said.