U Street Corridor in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
This is part of the Shaw neighborhood
— Diverse Visions, One Neighborhood —
Police Call Boxes such as this one (originally painted blue) were installed in the District after the Civil War. Officers on foot patrol used this secure telegraph system to contact the station, accessing the box with a now highly collectible "gold key." This system was used until the late 1970s when it was abandoned in favor of more modern communication methods.
This is part of the Shaw neighborhood of upwardly mobile African Americans (1875-1950). Prior to the Civil War (1861-1865), this was the northernmost edge of the city, an area of small farms. By the late 1890s, the farms had been subdivision and covered with the rows of Victorian dwellings (left) that you see today. African Americans and whites lived in close proximity. By the 1920s, however, housing segregation through restrictive covenants changed people's habits. With the widespread adoption of automobiles by the middle class and suburban development for whites only, what had been a bi-racial residential community became a self-sufficient black community.
Fire alarm boxes such as this one (originally painted red) were installed in the
Lily Spandorf (1915-2000), a prolific local artist who was born and trained in Europe, emigrated to the United States in 1959 and lived near the present Dupont Circle north Metro exit. She chronicled everyday Washington, especially Dupont Circle. Her work can be found in the Senate's collection of fine art.
Artist, Lily Spandorf
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 253.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the DC, Art on Call series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1959.
Location. Marker has been reported unreadable. 38° 54.931′ N, 77° 2.061′ W. Marker is in U Street Corridor in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of T Street Northwest and 15th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on T Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1466 T Street Northwest, Washington DC 20009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within Strong Families and Eminent Citizens (within shouting distance of this marker); John Wesley Cromwell Residence (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); This section of 15th St. (about 500 feet away); Georgia Douglas Johnson Residence (about 500 feet away); Living Mural: Paul Laurence Dunbar (about 500 feet away); A Shared Neighborhood (about 600 feet away); Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (about 700 feet away); Todd Duncan Residence (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in U Street Corridor.
More about this marker. Two of the sponsors of the call box, Apex and Omega DC, are historical gay bars in midtown DC. Both establishments have closed since the call box was converted to a historical marker. Back of marker has weather damage.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.