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 District after the Civil War. Telegraphs transmitted the box number (top) to a fire alarm center. This system was used until the 1970s when the boxes were converted to a telephone system. By
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
Art on Call
The Dupont Circle Art on Call project explores neighborhood history and local fire and police events. It also celebrates our diverse political, artistic and intellectual community by presenting original artwork by 22 local artists featuring the hub of our neighborhood. Dupont Circle and the beautiful fountains designed by Daniel Chester French.
Art on Call is a program of Cultural Tourism DC with support from
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
District Department of Transportation
This call box is sponsored by:
Apex, Richard Busch, Louis J. Goodson,
William J. Herron, Jr., Daniel McLaughlin & Chris Armstrong,
Dupont Circle Art on Call Corporate Sponsor
This community project also supported by
Dupont Circle Association and the Dupont Circle Conservancy, Inc.
and generous donations from community residents and businesses.
See all 22 Dupont Circle Call Boxes!
Development Committee Members:
Marilyn Newton, Chair
James H. Mears
Gerald Allen Schwinn
Tour guide, map and artist information available at: www.DupontCircleCallBox.com
Graphic design coursesy of: e-lanestudio
Fabrication: Gelberg Signs
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 253.)
Location. Marker has been reported unreadable. 38° 54.931′ N, 77° 2.061′ W. Marker is in U Street Corridor, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of T Street Northwest and 15th Street NW, on the right when traveling east on T Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1466 T St NW, Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. 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 600 feet away); A Shared Neighborhood (about 600 feet away); Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (about 700 feet away); Todd Duncan Residence (about 700 feet away).
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.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 69 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.