Call Box Restoration Underway: Donate Today

By Ross Schipper and Linda Brooks


In November 2014 we began soliciting donations from Burleith residents and friends to restore our five fire call boxes which likely date to the 1920s. We’ve now collected over 90 percent of the $13,500 estimated restoration cost, with less than $1,350 needed to reach our ultimate goal. Nearly 30 percent of BCA members have generously donated so far. If the remaining BCA members contributed just $15 each we would meet our goal. Of course, we also welcome contributions from non-members.

Don’t be left out: Donate today by mailing a check (payable to Burleith Community Fund) to BCA, PO Box 32262, Calvert Station, 2336 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007. Or pay by credit card on the website.

The first restoration is scheduled to be completed this summer and the remaining restorations by the end of 2015.

Each call box will have a plaque featuring an aspect of Burleith’s history. The first of these plaques—The Origins of Burleith—is destined for the call box on the southeast corner of 36th and T Streets and is now being fabricated at Artistic Bronze Plaques Inc.


Clean & Polish Building Solutions, Inc. (CPBS) has been contracted to remove rust and layers of old paint and to prime and paint the call boxes with the historically accurate dark gray and red colors. These were the earliest colors revealed during an initial stripping activity that removed successive layers of paint. A gold trim will be added to create a design that makes Burleith’s call boxes unique.

One remaining issue revolves around the call box on the northwest corner of 37th and R Streets. Affectionately known as "Shorty," this call box has sunk almost two feet into the ground. A late 1980s photograph by Sara Revis, a former Burleith resident, indicates that much of this descent has taken place in the last 30 years. CPBS is attempting to obtain an estimate for raising and stabilizing Shorty, but is running into permit issues because a certain amount of excavation is needed to determine what would be required to raise it and what would be the consequences of not doing so. (For obvious reasons, the cost for raising Shorty has not been included in our cost estimates. We will keep the community informed of the estimate status.)

More information about the project, including photos and a link to a list of current donors, is available in the January, February, March, and May “What’s Up” website posts.