If you've ever walked the streets of Portland, you may have seen one of these very old boxes on a post on the sidewalk. They're so old, that the only one that remains today has been around for about 130 years.

The Portland Police Department shared a photo of two police call boxes. The one on the left is in the lobby of the police department after being removed from it's original location at Morril's Corner. The second can be found on the corner of Spring and Emery Streets.

These boxes were used for police officers to communicate with other department members before they started using radios. 51 call boxes spread out all over the city were in use from the 1880s up until the 1970s. Yes, the police had radios in the 70s, but they still used the boxes on rare occasions.

Although the department never showed what they look like on the inside, we can only guess there is some type of telephone receiver inside. Back in the 1880s, crank telephones were still in use, but we imagine the technology got upgraded over the nearly 100 years they were in use.

The only one remaining on the street is the one at the corner of Spring and Emery streets, seen here still in blue paint, on Google Streetview.

Google Street View


Well now that the Portland PD has cleared up that mysterious piece of history, maybe someone can tell us exactly what these are for. Clearly they have something to do with cables, but we want to know more. Anyone got a key?


Townsquare Media


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