What are the DC Call Boxes?
At the end of the 1800’s cast-iron fire and police call boxes were installed throughout DC.
“The fire boxes, which came first, relied on a telegraph system. If you saw a fire, you would run down to the box and turn the key inside. It would send a message through underground cables to the central alarm center. The transmission matched a location on a giant map, telling the fire department where to send help.
The police boxes were used a little differently. They had telephones connected directly to the police department. The boxes were used by officers on patrol to check in from different street corners at different times to update central command, call for backup, or receive updated orders for their patrol area. (Vox, Coleman Lowndes, Aug 24, 2017)”
The call boxes were decommissioned in the 1970s where many were left in place as they were costly to remove.