Burleith Celebrates Call Box Restoration

 "Before and after" (as of Nov. 1) photos by linda brooks and ross schipper.

"Before and after" (as of Nov. 1) photos by linda brooks and ross schipper.

By Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper

 Liza gookin hodskins (right) presents the last of the needed restoration funds to Linda brooks and nan bell in honor of her parents. photo by alex frederick.

Liza gookin hodskins (right) presents the last of the needed restoration funds to Linda brooks and nan bell in honor of her parents. photo by alex frederick.

On Thursday, October 15, the Burleith Citizens Association and the Burleith Community Fund held a party to honor the donors whose generous gifts made the restoration of the five fire call boxes in the neighborhood a reality. Georgetown's newest beer, wine, and spirits retailer—Hop, Cask & Barrel—hosted the party and served a new mixed drink, Fire Call Box cocktails, created especially for the event. Shanghai Lounge provided delicious food.

Over 60 persons attended the celebration, including Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans and Lawrence Green, president of Clean & Polish Building Solutions, Inc. Donations from nearly 100 residents and friends of Burleith covered the costs of the restoration, including painting and stripping performed by Mr. Green's Rockville company, and plaques fabricated by Artistic Bronze Plaques in Florida.

 initial planning for the call box restoration project began in May 2013.

initial planning for the call box restoration project began in May 2013.

The design of Burleith's restored call boxes uses historically accurate red and black colors revealed during an initial investigation that stripped successive layers of paint and rust. Each restored call box exhibits a plaque focusing on an aspect of Burleith's history. The plaque located at 35th Street and Whitehaven Parkway introduces Burleith with a map showing the locations of the call boxes. The other four plaques cover the origins of the name Burleith, famous Burleith residents, the architectural evolution of the neighborhood, and patriotism and espionage.

The call box restoration effort is now in its final stages with only a few tasks yet to be completed. The majority of the remaining effort centers on "Shorty," the call box on the northwest corner of 37th and R Streets. Shorty’s plaque is in production, and Burleith artist Jeannette Murphy is creating a related bas-relief sculpture. When these items are installed along with a missing rectangular metal piece on Shorty and another call box, we can declare this project of the Burleith History Group complete.

 A tour of the restored call boxes preceded the party, which was scheduled for 6:30–8:30 pm and was still going strong after 9 pm. photo by alex frederick.

A tour of the restored call boxes preceded the party, which was scheduled for 6:30–8:30 pm and was still going strong after 9 pm. photo by alex frederick.