About those metal posts you see around Petworth and DC [videos]

An abandoned box in Petworth

You’ve seen these odd-shaped metal posts on the streets in Petworth and around DC, even if you didn’t know what they were. Almost all are painted and some, like the ones in Mt. Pleasant, have been converted to miniature art installations. (There’s one on 16th Street that has tennis balls stuffed inside.)

So what are they?

They’re call boxes that were once used by DC police to contact their headquarters, and by residents to contact the fire department in emergencies. They were wired throughout the city at a time when telephones were not common. As technology progressed, the boxes were disconnected and left where they were. (The last one was disconnected in 1970s.)

This 4 minute video by Vox does a great job of sharing the history of the boxes, and how some have reimagined their use. #TheMoreYouKnow

Unmoving Derelict is a short documentary by local filmmaker and actor Steve N Bradford. He became interested in the mysterious iron shapes sticking out of the sidewalks throughout the city and decided he needed to find out what they were all about.

DC police officer using a call box at 13th 1/2 and D Streets NW in 1912 (wikipedia)

h/t Justin