There is an ever-diminishing number of people in the world — I am one of them — who can remember a time when the only way to place a call from the street was to find a public telephone booth, step inside, lift the handset from the cradle, wait for the dial tone, and place a dime in the receiver. (Later a quarter. I am not old enough to remember a nickel toll.) But phone booths served other purposes, besides offering Clark Kent a spot to change into Superman. After the photo below was posted to Facebook on 2 March 2019 by Robert “Bobby” Busnach (1955-2019), who’s seen in one of the booths, Joe Concannon recalled in a comment: “One morning, many years ago, my friend Bertie, while nursing his usual massive hangover, sat in bewilderment staring at his knees, wondering why he had star-like indentations on his knee caps. [He realized it] was because he was on his knees in that very same phone booth while performing ‘lip service’ at 3 a.m. What memories. I think it was a long-distance call.” In the same thread, Ed Riseman copped to “many an awkward phone call to my parents from that phone box.”
Bobby Busnach in a phone both outside Dyer’s hardware store. Posted to Facebook by Busnach, 2 March 2019.
The phone booth can be seen at the left edge of this photo from the 1980 Long Pointer. In the School Collection of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Page 5591.
¶ Last updated on 27 October 2020.
173 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Also at 171-173 Commercial Street:
Thumbnail image: Photo posted to Facebook by Bobby Busnach, 2 March 2019.