Phone Booth on a Roof – Lincoln, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Phone Booth on a Roof

Today this bizarre rooftop phone booth seems like a piece of kitsch but it was once used to spot disastrous storms. 


Perched atop the fire house in Lincoln, Illinois is a lone phone box that seems to have simply fallen out of the sky and landed on the building, but in fact the glass phone enclosure was installed to help warn against massive storms.

During the 1960s weather prediction technology was not what it is today, but the need for the service was possibly even more pressing. The simplest way to find out what was coming was to get to a high vantage point and take a look. Unfortunately under high winds and rains, this presented its own problems. However the technology for keeping people safe from the elements while they talked on the phone had already arrived in the form of the classic phone booth.

It is not known exactly who decided to marry the two things on the roof of the Lincoln fire house, but ever since, the enigmatic phone booth that was simply plopped there has been a popular oddity. While in use, a firefighter (usually one lower on the seniority ladder) would ascend to the roof during inclement weather and look for tornadoes or particularly nasty storm clouds. If they spotted any, they would pick up the phone and let their emergency working fellows know.

Today the phone is no longer in use, but the phone booth is still visible from the street. Apparently the oddity attracts a number of gawkers from around the world each year.

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