The legendary Mojave phone booth!
There are few famous phone booths in the world, but the Mojave phone booth in California was definitely one of them. Located in the middle of the Mojave desert, miles from any highway or building, the booth rose to fame in the 1990s when it became a Internet sensation. A man from Los Angles spotted a telephone icon on a map of the Mojave and decided to check it out. He wrote an article of his adventures, and many people began to create fan sites on the net. The Mojave phone booth’s number was originally (714) 733-9969, and as it become more and more famous, it drew dozens of calls every day from people all over the world. It went so far that the phone booth became a tourist attraction, and many people camped in the area, waiting for the telephone to ring.
The booth was installed in the 1960′s after California focused on helping residents in the isolated parts of the state. There was a mine close to the location, and workers could use it to call their families and loved ones. After a while it became a case of “out of sight and out of mind” for a number of years, It was in 1997, after the article in an underground magazine, and a lot of tribute sites on the internet, that the Mojave Phone Booth became a popular phenomenon. Tourists started to camp near the booth, just waiting for it to ring. Many taped their conversations, and there are some hilarious and strange audio clips on the net to prove it. It became popular to leave messages on the booth, and after a while it was covered in graffiti. One man actually camped there for a month, answering more than 500 calls. I guess a typical call could go something like this: “Hello? Hello? Is this the Mojave Phone Booth. Oh my God, I can’t believe it! Somebody answered! There’s actually somebody out there!”
People camping in the middle of the Mojave Desert
In 2000, Pacific Bell removed the Phone Booth, after complaints by the National Park Service and the phone number was officially retired. The removal was supposedly due to the environmental impact tourists had on the surroundings, but also local complaints of traffic and noise. The removal caused an uproar among the supporters, and they tried to bring it back, even writing letters to the authorities. They were not successful, and fans who left souvenirs and headstones at the site also claimed Pacific Bell had destroyed and removed them. There is a short film called “Dead Line” based on the story, but also a 2006 movie called “Mojave Phone Booth”. Some may not see much value in it, but I personally feel it’s a bit sad they decided to remove the booth. It would be fun to have a piece of memorabilia of a simpler time in this super modern cell phone era, but I guess life goes on : )
The place of the Mojave Phone Booth today