Preserving the historic police and fire callboxes of McLean Gardens


The callboxes in our community are historical in many ways, from their original importance to the community to the artwork which pays tribute to Evalyn Walsh McLean, Friendship Estate (the McLean family home in Washington DC, now McLean Gardens), and the Hope Diamond. Read the articles in this section for in depth information about the history behind these callboxes.

Call Box History
In the mid-1860’s, the ornate cast iron call boxes used for telegraphing police and fire emergencies started to appear in the District of Columbia.  They were manufactured by Gamewell in Newton Falls, Massachusetts for municipalities across the country, and they were used in DC until the 1970’s when the “911” emergency telephone system went into effect.  The call boxes extend almost as far under the ground as they do above it, and  there are prongs underground to stabilize them.

(Above: a callbox before its restoration)

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