Fire Alarm Boxes Disappearing from Park View Streetscapes

Gamewell fire call boxes, like this one, were once installed on pedestals throughout the city

The Fire Alarm Box, and less so it’s Police Call Box counterpart, are among the most recognizable remnants of all of DC’s historic street architecture. Many of them have been turned into street art throughout the city.

I’ve often wondered why there are so few in Park View, thinking that perhaps it had to do with when the neighborhood was developed. However, I recently discovered that this is not true. In reading a copy of the Park View News from April 6, 1916, it was instantly clear that Park View once had just as extensive an alarm box system as any other part of the city. You can read that article below:

The article above identifies 10 locations for fire call boxes. Of those, only two still have the posts and harps for those boxes. They are located at the intersections of Warder & Kenyon and Gresham & Georgia. Sadly, the harp at Georgia & Lamont has only recently vanished. As shown in the Google image below, it was still there earlier this year.

The call box harp at Lamont and Georgia is a recent loss to the community

Upon walking the neighborhood, I’ve also discovered two harps that were not on the 1916 list. They are located at Warder & Otis and Princeton & Georgia. These harps, and the call boxes once installed in them, were produced by the Gamewell company and painted red. You can see a picture of Park View’s remaining 4 fire alarm box pedestals and harps after the jump.

Pedestal and harp located at Warder and Otis

Pedestal and harp located at Warder and Kenyon

Pedestal and harp located at Gresham and Georgia

Pedestal and harp located at Princeton and Georgia


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6 Comments on “Fire Alarm Boxes Disappearing from Park View Streetscapes”

  1. anon Says:

    Cultural Tourism DC has a list of all the existing callboxes in the city. The list was started by DDOT. It’s about 10 years old and 90% accurate. The survey missed some callboxes, and some callboxes have probably been lost since then.

  2. Jason Says:

    It would be nice to see the existing ones repainted. I’m guessing any type of project like that would have to be a project directed by Cultural Tourism DC or something…

  3. […] I took my inventory of fire alarm call boxes on November 23rd Park View still had four call boxes. One at Lamont and Georgia had recently been […]

  4. […] harp that once graced this corner has not been reinstalled. When I first noticed that it had been removed in November 2010, I contacted DDOT which confirmed that they had removed it due to the Middle Georgia Avenue Great […]

  5. […] With the return of this harp, the Park View area continues to have three of the original twelve fire call boxes that once served the […]

  6. […] there are only three of these in the neighborhood presently, there were at least twelve fire call stations in Park View at one time. Over the past decade, I know of two harps that were taken out by cars, and the call […]

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