What are these 'gym lockers' in the stairwells of my apt. building?

I live in a 21 story apartment building in Chicago that I’d estimate was built in the 1950s, maybe early 1960s.

There is an east and west stairwell. Inside the stairwell are what look like a high school gym locker. They are numbered, one for each apartment.

What were these used for? Bread and/or milk delivery from the days of regular home delivery? Package/mail delivery?

They are certainly too small to be useful as extra storage.

Can you describe the dimensions? In New York, having a bank of little locking cubbies in the lobby, a 6"x6" long rectangle, is normal for getting mail in apartment buildings. Sometimes they are a little larger, and can take small packages as well. When I think of a gym locker though, I’m thinking of something at least one foot in height. So maybe I’m not visualizing it right.

How do you get your mail?

PS I’ve also seen an apartment renovate the lobby and install new mail cubbies, but leave the old ones in place if they’re too much trouble to take out.

Hmmm. What does the management office think they are? What building?

This was my first thought. Ask the management; that should have been your first option. It amazes me that people think that online answers are better than going to the source.

Some places have mail lockers for packages. The carrier puts the package in the locker, puts a note with a key in your regular mailbox, you retrieve the package and put the key back in your outgoing mail.

But HS locker style boxes don’t seem to match well.

I vote for package delivery boxes and will speculate that your apartment management has decided not to issue keys anymore. Perhaps they now take the packages at the office or require delivery to your apartment doorstep,

Distribution of Twitter updates, pre-internet. It used to be very paper-intensive.

LOL. Nice. Very nice.

You can see the series of interconnected tubes behind them, right?

Utility meters/access maybe? But, like the others said, checking with the super or building management is your best bet for an answer.

Management is not always on site, available to ask. And supers are not always interested in answering pointless questions or knowledgable about building history. Neither is management, for that manner. No reason to believe the same company has owned this building since 1961 and knows what the lockers were for, if they are original to the building (which it seems they are since they are built-in). I would be quite surprised if the management company that runs the building knows anything about it, actually.

I wonder (and I have nothing to back this up) if they could have been a place to store boots and/or other winter gear so snow wasn’t tracked into the apartments?

Is there any way you could post a picture?

Here are a couple of pictures:

Pic 1

Pic 2

The building manager has absolutely no idea what the boxes are for. The building is owned by a large property management company.

I have no idea how they would have handled mail and packages when this place was built. Right now, the entire first floor is taken up by the lobby, a hair salon, a dry cleaners, a room with individual apartment mailboxes, and a convenience store. There is a back room in the convenience store where packages are dropped off. The store is open 8-8 seven days a week, so it is relatively convenient for residents to pick up packages.

Was package delivery all that common in the pre internet days in a large city like Chicago? I’m sure people still sent birthday and Christmas presents, but I’m not sure it would have been common to get packages.

I would think if they were mail lockers (or milk delivery lockers), they would have had two keyholes, one for the resident and one for the postman’s master key, or a single master keyhole for the entire assembly that opened all the boxes at once.

How big are those lockers? And if the building manager doesn’t know, there might be a maintenance guy who has been there long enough that he would know, or perhaps one of the older tenants would know. I’m surprised that the building manager wasn’t curious enough to find out.

Please allow me to introduce you to mail order.

Smart car parking.

They look like mail lockers to me.

Here is a picture of one of the ‘gym lockers’ opened.

Definitely mailboxes. You can see the remains of resident name stickers on the bottoms.