Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Art on Call: Call Box Revitalization Project

Posted on January 1st, 2013

Years ago, back at the turn of the 20th century, before telephones and cell phones were ubiquitous, there were ornamental iron boxes on poles at many street corners throughout the city. They were not only attractive, but they served a civic purpose as well. Residents could turn in a fire alarm or the police in the precinct house could check on the progress of an officer on patrol. Then came the 1970s when the police had other means of checking back to the precinct house and the number of false fire alarms rocketed causing problems for the fire department. The 911 emergency system was instituted and the police and fire call boxes were inactivated.

Just before the turn of the 21st century, several Hill residents and others from across the city began wondering how these relics from another time could once again grace their communities. The Art on Call project, under the direction of Cultural Tourism DC through an agreement with the DC Department of Transportation, is the answer.

Neighborhood organizations across the Hill – Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Barracks Row Main Street, H Street Main Street, Hill East, North Lincoln Park, Stanton Park – have joined together to work on this project. This web page can tell you how to get involved in the project – or what will be happening on a corner near you.
•Project Overview
•Frequently Asked Questions
•Box Locations, Topics and Contacts
•Helping Out