Proudly displaying his multi-wheeled masterpiece in front of his residence off of Route 23, Mongold said the mailbox started out in the mid-1990s as just a rig.
"I bought the truck piece sometime in 1993 or '94," he said. "I've painted it several times and made several cosmetic changes to it during that time."
Born in West Virginia, Mongold came to Phoenixville in the '60s when his sister informed him of a job opportunity driving tractor trailers. He continued to drive tractor trailers for more than 40 years and retired from Volpe Express in January 2003.
"I figured it was time for a change in my life," he said. "I started my own excavating business and it's been keeping me
plenty busy. I'm only 65 years old - a young 65 years old."
In the meantime, Mongold said he always felt his mailbox wasn't complete, so he began developing plans to build the trailer addition.
"The trailer piece began as one big sheet of aluminum stainless steel, lots of time, imagination, and a mighty handful of stainless steel bolts," he said. "Some of it I planned out - some I just winged it. I knew what I wanted and how it was supposed to look when it was done. I began working on it last April and the trailer piece was completed in under two months."
Unfortunately, Mongold said he sent the trailer out to several different places to have it professionally painted.
"I waited several months to get the trailer painted," he said. "Eventually, I got tired of waiting, purchased some paint and did the job myself. I put a lot of detail and ingenuity into this mailbox. The CB antenna in front is an old welding rod."
Mongold said some of the final finishing touches to the trailer were the lights he placed around the top of it.
"I found all of the lights at Radio Shack for around $100," he said. "I had to run wires from the trailer to the cab so the front lights would work. It took around 200 feet of wire and 150 feet of electrical tape to hook up the lights. The lights are lit from a power transformer that sits inside the trailer, which is connected to the house current from the lamppost."
Two admirers of Mongold's work are his family members, Carol Schade and her son, Tony.
"I knew once Udell put his mind into putting that trailer together that it would turn out looking wonderful," said Carol. "There are times when I could tell that he would be sitting there, just planning away inside his head of what he could do to make the trailer look authentic."
"I'm in awe of what he's done with that trailer," said Tony. "He knew what he wanted to do and he made it happen."
Satisfied with his finished product, Mongold said the mailbox is definitely a "one of a kind original."
"The total cost of the entire trailer was around $400, not counting the time I put into it, which was available to me since I'm retired," Mongold said. "My goal was to have the entire trailer completed by Christmas, but there were some minor adjustments and it ended up being finished two days later. I must say, it makes a nice billboard so people can find me."