The Second Annual Great Letterboxing History Hunt: May 15-31

For letterboxing information and to download the MAP and CLUES, click the links below:

Letterboxing Brochure 2015

All Letterboxing Clues 2015

Letterboxing Clues 2015 (For the New Canaan Historical Society ONLY)

Seven Fairfield County historical organizations have banded together to continue the tradition with the Second Annual Great Letterboxing History Hunt. The event begins onFriday, May 15th and ends with a festive family get-together at the Wilton Historical Society on Sunday, May 31st from 3 – 4pm. Letterboxing, which originated on the moors of Dartmoor, England in the 1850’s, is an outdoor walking or hiking activity that combines elements of orienteering, stamp art and puzzle-solving in a treasure hunt-style quest. This is a wonderful family activity, offering a chance to learn about reading maps, following clues, and local history.

The event is a collaboration between the Fairfield Museum and History Center, the New Canaan Historical Society, the Norwalk Historical Society, Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern Museum, the Weston Historical Society, the Westport Historical Society, and the Wilton Historical Society. All you need to get started is a nifty signature stamp and an ink pad. Anytime during the weeks of May 15 – May 31, get your stamp and ink pad, go to one of the historical societies listed, pick up the official Letterboxing History Hunt Map and clues there, or print one out on their websites and you are on your way!

Be sure to get a fun signature stamp before you start out! Make your own unique stamp or get an unusual one at the Wilton Historical Society. The Betts Store is offering Yellow Owl Workshop’s DYI “Carve-A- Stamp Kit” as well as some of their ready to go stamps, all made in the USA.

This is how Letterboxing works: Each participant carries with them a ‘signature’ stamp and the official Letterboxing History Hunt Map. Starting at any of the historical societies, the object is to follow clues to find a letterbox hidden on the property. Inside the letterbox is a journal and a stamp; like a passport, the participant stamps the location stamp on his/her official Letterboxing History Hunt Map, and in turn stamps the journal in the letterbox with their signature stamp. Participants have a little over two weeks, from May 15 – May 31, to go on the Second Annual Great Letterboxing History Hunt.

Participants who stamp their official Map at all seven locations will be eligible for a prize, and will be entered in a drawing for a wonderful grand prize. All prizes will be awarded at the Wilton Historical Society closing get-together from 3-4 on Sunday, May 31st. (Don’t forget to bring your fully stamped map!) A fun, family event, there will be refreshments and live music with Leigh Richards on acoustic guitar.

A Brief History of Letterboxing, from Letterboxing.Info from Silent Doug:

“According to legend, letterboxing began in southwestern England in 1854 when a Victorian gentleman named James Perrott hid his calling card in a jar in a remote area by Cranmere Pool on the moors of Dartmoor (the setting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles). Perrot was a guide on the moor, and he encouraged his clients to leave their cards in the jar, as well. Eventually, visitors began leaving a self-addressed post card or note in the jar, hoping for them to be returned by mail by the next visitor (thus the origin of the term ‘letterboxing.’ ‘Letterbox’ is a British term for what we in the U.S. know as a mailbox). This practice ended in time, however, and the current custom of using rubber stamps and logbooks came into use.”

Letterboxing did not begin in the United States until 1998, when an article in Smithsonian prompted interest. In Connecticut, there are letterboxes and clues at all 32 State Forests!