Where in GJ Can You Celebrate ‘Find a Pay Phone Booth Day’?
Back before cell phones, we used to have these things called pay phones. They were everywhere. Can you still find one in Grand Junction?
This Sunday, March 10, is National Find a Pay Phone Booth Day. The younger crowd probably has no idea what a phone booth is. Let's go back in time a few decades.
There used to be pay phones. I can remember when they were .20 cents to make a call. My last memories of a pay phone involve .25 cents. You see, to make a call, you had to take coins, put them in this little slot on the phone. If the coins were accepted, you would get a dial tone. You then dialed the number you wanted to reach. If the person on the other end answered, your coins would drop. If they didn't answer, the pay phone would refund your money. If you dialed the wrong number and someone picked up..... tough toenails. Your money went bye bye.
Sometimes, but not always, you would find these pay phones in what was called a phone booth. Sometimes it was a square little "room" with a folding door. Sometimes, it was simply a little "bubble" type thing providing the illusion of privacy. More often than not, in Grand Junction at least, the phones were simply hanging from a wall.
In addition to being a place to make phone calls, Superman used to change clothes in these things. Even in 1978, with the release of the first Superman movie, the "phone booth" was starting to fade. They were rapidly disappearing in favor of the smaller, not-fully-enclosed units. The makers of Superman pocked a little fun at the matter with this scene.
Looking back, the last pay phone I can remember in Grand Junction was outside of the gas station on the southeast corner of Broadway and Monument Road. That would have been at least a decade ago.
So, why the holiday? According to the website Holiday Insights -
This special day was created in 2018 by Bob Matthews of Rochester, NY. Stumbling upon an increasingly rare pay phone booth in a local shopping mall, Matthews recognized the importance to recording this soon to be relic, before they completely disappeared. - holidayinsights.com
Why March 10? According to the site, that is the date Bell made his first telephone call to his assistant, Mr. Watson.
I'm drawing a blank. To my knowledge, with the possible exception of "novelty" phone booths, I can't think of a functioning telephone booth in Grand Junction. I hope I'm wrong. If one still exists, I would go out of my way just to use it. If one still exists, please share the info. Where have you seen one in Grand Junction?