Michael's On Main at 2591 South Main Street, Soquel, CA. The phone service was removed, and the current phone is just for display.

The "Phone Booth" has made it into most dictionaries, movie and TV plots and slang terms. (A "four-wheel phone booth" is CB radio slang for a person talking on a cell phone while driving.) An interesting legend is that Superman used a phone booth to change clothes. Actually he rarely used a phone booth for changing.  For the full story check out Superman Home Page.

The cartoon "Captain Sprocket" made the idea popular. His only super power was a quick-change in a phone booth. That was a running gag in his comic stories from the early 1960's to 1984 in Archie Comics. Sprocket would often say, "Every hero uses a phone booth to change." This sign is all that is left of a phone booth formerly on Front Street in Santa Cruz. (Sign is still there in 2012.) Photo by John Pilge, 2009.

When public phones became practical, they needed to be protected from extra sound during use. The simple solution was to put them in a booth with a door. As phone technology improved, a booth wasn't needed to protect the phone, nor was sound too much of a problem. The phone booth, gave way to a phone with just enough shelter to protect the phone. As far as the public utilities were concerned it was just a public telephone. When the industry went into de-regulation, any company could get permission to operate a public telephone. Some even had a logo that looked very much like the local utility company (in Santa Cruz County, Pacific Bell). During the end of the 20th century, the cellular phone became popular enough, that public phone could be eliminated in many places.

These phones have a logo similar to Pacific Bell.

According to PUBLIC UTILITIES CODE 728.3 (a) No telephone corporation operating within a service area shall remove any public telephone unless it has posted on the public telephone for not less than 30 days a notice, in a manner and form approved by the commission, indicating that the public telephone is to be removed and containing the appropriate telephone number of the commission which a customer may call for further information. (b) This section shall not apply when a public telephone is removed for public safety or public nuisance purposes or at the request of the owner or lessee of the property on which the public telephone is located.

Finding the remains of a former phone booth. In the above photo. A: A square slab of concrete near a walking area. B: A metal pole to prevent auto crash damage. C: Exposed pipe used for wire connection.Non-working phone booth in Calahan's Pub in Santa Cruz. (It is for display.) Note the dial instead of buttons

Here is a list of the last phone booths in Santa Cruz County.

Removed in 2012.Britannia Arms, 8017 Soquel Dr., Aptos, California. A British-style booth outside a British-stle pub. In Britain they call it a call box, in South Africa a tikkie box. Davenport, Ca. Outside the Post Office. Corner of State Park Drive and Center Avenue. Removed in 2010.

2299 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville, California. Removed in 2012. 320 Walker St,, Watsonville, CA

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