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Current Mojave Mail | Mojave Mail Archive #4 | Non-Mojave Mail

Mojave Mail!

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2000
From: Bonnie Burton

I'm sorry to hear that the Mojave Phone Booth has been removed. I'm curious to know why. Was it because of the press it was getting from a fan site?

If that was the main reason to remove it, that seems awfully petty. Especially since it got such national recognition and probably drew more visitors to your park who wouldn't normally care otherwise. And I seriously doubt that the desert was damaged by some tourists answering the phone. If it was, then why do you allow any people out there in the first place? Maybe the desert should be closed off to ALL human contact (yourself included) if answering a phone booth is so dangerous to the fragile sand and wildlife.

At any rate, I wanted to email you my extreme disappointment in the decision. It seems like officials like yourself would have better things to do that remove phone booths that aren't doing any harm other than creating a bit of whimsy for people all over the world.

By the way, what happens if someone has an accident and really does need to use a phone out there in the desert? I guess they're out of luck, eh?

Bonnie Burton
Senior Editor

From: destrip
Subject: Elected officials respond; one response actually encouraging!!
Date Wed, 9 Aug 2000

After almost giving up hope, I finally got replies from Jerry Lewis and Dianne Feinstein on the Booth issue. Lewis basically said to complain to Pac Bell about it (he says Pac Bell is the property owner, but isn't it actually NPS property that Pac Bell just has an easement on?)

Feinstein's reply was much better. It's interesting, because Lewis opposed the whole NPS land grab thing and Feinstein supported it. Now it seems to be Lewis who is taking the NPS' side on the issue and Feinstein is the one offering to lend us assistance!!

Now that Mary might feel a little heat from above... how will she take it?!

From: Mikhail
Subject: Photos and the sad knowledge that the booth is gone...
Date Tue, 08 Aug 2000

Hello there,

Recently (last week) I went on a trek to find the booth that was long among my list to do, but did not ever come about. A good friend of mine who has been in Japan for some time was visiting The States and we had agreed to go camping. His Brother, Him and I went to California for some beach camping and on the return voyage we were driving through the desert and talking when I told them about "The Phone". Not knowing exactly where it was, and not checking your site for some time, I was under the impression that the booth was still intact and in existence.


From: sLhAcKeR
Subject: How about sending SNAIL MAIL to PacBell and the NPS? Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2000

Since the government and just about everyone with email gets WAY more messages than they can handle these days, how about sending snail mail instead? Email is too easy to quickly and QUIETLY delete. Mary likely already has a 'bot that deletes any messages containing the words "phone booth". On the other hand, a few incidents of the mailman carting in several sacks of snail mail would draw a LOT of attention and would likely be witnessed by numerous people.

Also, somebody mentioned that we should contact various historical societies and see about getting the booth designated as a "historic structure". Has anyone given this route a try? I've never had a chance to see the booth, but would dive up there TONIGHT if it were returned.

I can only dream about reading a news article 20 years from now talking about how a "once controversial (to the NPS, that is) phone booth was removed at the beginning of the millennium, only to be restored a few months later."

Hopefully the telephone poles haven't already been removed...

San Diego, CA

From: Neil K.
Subject: Seen at the sportin store
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000

appropriate, somehow. presumably, if you land on a national park, you get kicked out of the game. and if every square is nps-owned EVERYBODY LOSES!

From: Bruce
Subject: Is this next??
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000

I just read through some of the latest email on your site and came across the response from mary martin. I was impressed at some of the statements made in her letter. I was not surprised, as they fit my previous impression of the NPS, and the feds in general.

Near the (previous) site of the phone booth are a number of petroglyphs, and old campsites. For the most part they are out of the way and rarely visited (as far as I can tell). However in reading the letter from mary I could not help but wonder - it this next??


The petroglyphs (with associated lines and circles) were the public property of unknown, presumably deceased, indigenous people. The right-of-way for the petroglyphs and associated campsites expired before 1992 and the unknown, presumably deceased, indigenous people indicated no interest in renewal and did not request a renewal. New technologies have replaced the need for the petroglyphs. Under the terms of the right-of-way, without a valid agreement, these unknown, and presumably deceased indigenous people are obligated to remove their property and restore the right-of-way to preinstallation conditions.

We understand the uniqueness of these petroglyphs; however, once they gained notoriety, it attracted numerous visitors and, unfortunately, not all visitors to the site share your ethic. Not only has there been documented resources damage (fire burning, large gatherings without permit, garbage scattered, vegetation damage and posted graffiti), but private property owners have also been disturbed. In addition, several hand fulls of natural dyes and paints were brought to the area by unknown, presumably deceased, indigenous people who then outlined messages on the desert rock.

The National Park Service received numerous complaints from local property owners. Prior to the petroglyphs gaining notoriety, the indigenous people traffic resulted in trespass, campfires, stranded and lost visitors, and other problems. These issues made it necessary for the National Park Service to increase patrols to the area to ensure that neither visitors nor indigenous people cause resource damage, exceed their camping authorization, violate wilderness values and, as necessary, to provide appropriate help and assistance.

The proliferation of trash required that our maintenance worker, from Baker, CA, conduct several clean-up drives in this area, all necessitated by visitor impacts.

We have made many attempts to contact the of unknown, presumably deceased, indigenous people but have had no response. If they continue to ignore our letters the National Park Service will be forced to have our maintenance worker, from Baker, CA, conduct several clean-up in this area, to remove all of the petroglyphs.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns regarding the care of resources at Mojave National Preserve.

From: Luther
Subject: Another Mojave Phone Booth Letter
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000

Greetings and salutations

It is almost a sure bet that you have already received countless mails regarding the Mojave Phone booth, and I cannot help but to offer my opinion on the matter. As I imagine you receive many caustic letters, I will try to remain as concise and objective as possible.

I was, at one time, someone who frequented the booth. I visited it on several occasions and had the time of my life. It became one of my numerous hobbies, and was a rather large (albeit strange) piece of my young life.

It saddened me to learn of it's removal, and reading your literature put a different perespective on the matter. It is understandable why it seemed to be an "economically unviable" thorn in your side, and your claims of negative impacts on the preserve seemed almost believable. However, being someone who looks under the surface, I was tempted to delve a bit further.

What I found in my search yeilds not one shred of proof that there has been any negative impact, or that there were any complaints regarding the booth and it's visitors. In addition, my visits to the phone booth site always resulted in finding a completely clean landscape. (Sure there was the occasional bottle cap or gum-wrapper, but not so many that your "Parks Service" was unable to bend over and pick them up.) And in regards to the so-called complaints you received, I as a taxpayer would like to know who complained. It is a matter of course that said complaints to a Federally funded agency are that of public accord, and thus by law are to be disclosed. I tend to believe that these complaints were manufactured, because the local residents of the Cima Mine and surrounding areas (Charlie, Lorene, ETC.) always seemed pleased to see me. In fact, I have shared many a conversation and occasional lunch with these fine people. Seeing as these are the only likely sources of these complaints, I stand by the fact that I believe these complaints to be exaggerated or outright falsehoods.

It is no mystery that the Parks Service and the BLM wish to get their hands on the surrounding lands, and I find it unscrupulous that you do not admit to this fact. It must have occurred to you that people like myself ... would have figured this out, and that we would try to expose this fact. Your "Big Brother knowing what's best for you" approach to these situations is not palatable, nor is it acceptable. This is not to say that your intentions were malicious in nature, however it is the mainstream opinion that the booth site should have been left as it was. Pac Bell's and the "Parks Service's" cloak-and-dagger approach in taking the booth in the dead of night without rhyme or reason further exacerbates our suspicions. And your claims of the site being a blight on those Joshua Trees just does not seem to work.

I am left to wonder just what the true purpose of your organization is. If it were to encourage tourists and taxpayers to enjoy these lands, then why would you take something like the booth away? I mean, let's face it. The Mojave Desert, which you so arrogantly save from people like myself for countless generations to come .. well .. doesn't offer much. People can die out there if they are ill-equipped, and I don't know too many people who come to California to see it's magnificent dirt. I tend to agree with when they say that "the NPS does not want you to visit National Parks." It occurs to me that the more land you sieze, the more appropriations are made to line secret pockets who have no name or face. Is this the "American Way" we wish to convey to these generations? Am I to tell my three-year-old daughter that it is "American" to strongarm the little guy simply because you can?

Let's take a moment to discuss these generations. People such as myself (and countless others) are here to stay. We seek out that which will make people say "Just what in the heck are you doing this for?" This is not in spite of those who are not like-minded, but rather to try and arouse their curiosities and imaginations. And I fear that by the time my daughter is old enough to take enjoyment in such arbitrary activities, there won't be any to speak of. It is often said that we mock that which we do not understand. But I find this sort of individualism to be the hallmark of our society. People like those at deserve our respect, and are worthy of recognition. People such as they expose the weird and wonderful parts of our imaginations, and bring them their admirers.

What is the real answer? Is it to oust those who operate the Cima Mine? Is it to further the dogma of the "Greenies"? And why are these answers not being made to the public? Is it because you feel that you do not feel that the public is worthy of an answer, or are you afraid that the public will politically lynch those involved? It is my opinion that if your tactics in ousting those of the Cima Mine were exposed, this would be the exact result. Remember, the American Public does not like a bully. After all, we were founded on this basis.

I ask that you reply on this matter, and that you provide a venue with which I can research your findings. I would like to see, or be reffered to public documents regarding this issue, and the decisions that were made behind closed doors. I would also like to know who I should contact in order to register several complaints. In short, as a taxpayer, I ask that you answer to your actions. I trust that you will respect these simple wishes, and will not accept a response that you "are not at liberty to say."

I have already mailed many people regarding this issue, including Congressman Jerry Lewis, John Reynolds and George Turnbull. And every letter I sent was devoid of reply. (I find this rather odd, seeing as my being a taxpayer is not worthy of a correspondence.) My letters, despite being courteous and concise, have made their way into the ether of political filibustering and red tape and I am less than pleased. As a result, I am going to send carbon-copies of these letters (including this one) to as many media outlets as I can get my hands on. (This should not be a problem, seeing as I am the founder/coordinator of an organization that combats child pornography and predators who was featured on 20/20 and has appeared in countless newspapers.)

I anticipate your response with great eagerness.

Many regards,

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000
From: (anonymous)

You were the first contact I had with the Mohave Phone booth, before it was huge, back in '99. I connect with the desert, and with chance, deeply it was a natural fit.

So, to keep this short (and perhaps read) those NUMEROUS COMPLAINTS by locals MUST BE AVAILABLE as part of the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. Being a government institution, if the compliant was not mailed or logged, it was not a complaint.

Like the old-school way of cracking a safe, it is always about getting that first corner open. Prove their memo is suspect with no 'numerous' complaints, then force them to show paper trails for all other actions.

From: gwen.stefani
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000
Subject: phederal government and the fone

How about a link to the Libertarian Party's website ( on your site, so deuce site vistors can find out more about the political party committed to making sure things like the Phone Booth's removal never happen again?

Libertarian voter, Phone lover

PS: I will not renew my cell phone contract with Pac Bell

Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000
From: Mack
Subject: My missive to the NPS re the Mojave Desert Phone Booth

I wish I would've included a copy of my email to that stupid woman. I believe that the NPS has violated our civil rights. The Constitution states that we have a divinely instated right to the pursuit of happiness. I've never been to the Phone Booth. To be honest, I only learned of its existence (now non-existence) yesterday. But I like knowing such things exist in this increasingly structured world. America is a land of dreamers. It always has been. The pilgrims braved the Atlantic and landed on Plymouth Rock because they dreamed of a place where they would be free of persecution. Necessarily, some dreamers, including me, are kooks. Millions of other dreamers passed through another NPS property, Ellis Island, to pursue their own version of economic, political or spriritual happiness. Some of those people were kooks too.

Anyway, the NPS infringed on our right to the pursuit of happiness by taking away something that made us happy. And its existence was even legal! LOL

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000
From: Tomas H.

Organizing a whole slew of MASSIVE pilgrimages to the Mine and to the Phone site? I can think of a lot of things along those lines -- the bottom line is to get a LOT of folks to "SEE WHERE OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE GOING" -- and to "appreciate the park" services.

it's an idea. though this sort of approach has been tried elsewhere, most notably with the burning man event. it's not been terribly effective, however.
What's happening of late on this front?
pac-bell claims to have destroyed the booth itself. the nps is hoping for things to die down.

From: Pentti
Subject: The deceased phone booth of Mojave desert
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000

Everything I knew of USA was the phone booth in Mojave desert and the White house somewhere. Nowadays I know only the White house somewhere. Phone number to the booth is still in my mobile phone, number to the White house I never have had.

How is that, if people around the world begin to call the White house and come to visit the plase, is there some organization who will remove the White house?

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000
From: Cynthia C.

hey ho.. i've been checking out your website, since i was driving thru california in march. i grew up out there and decided that i had a hankering to check out all the eastern cali digs.. so i did a death valley/mohave/joshua tree/salton sea drive. I take photos of landscapes, but also do "series" of photos of things i like. so far, i have a pile of ice machines, phone booths aand some other stuff.. (water, dirt, etc.) anyway, i thought you would be into the phone booth thing..

i need to tell you about a story, just for fun..

i was in twentyninepalms and i was taking a photo of a beautiful old building that said, "cactii cafe' on the front. it looked like it was built in the 30's and it looked like it would be torn down. I had to take photos of it.. so many that i was there for about 15 minutes. some old man came trotting down this hill and asked me what i was doing. i explained that i take photos of "stuff" and i handed him this card that pretty much explains my whole scene! (it has a photo showing 4 sides of an ice machines, and the title of the show was called, "people, landscapes, ice machines, stuff." then he blurts out.. after reading the card, "well! you should go take a photo of the phone booth in the mohave that's out there all by itself!" "huh? how did you know i took photos of phone booths, too?" "i don't know, you have to go out there!" he didn't know where the phone both was, and i didn't want to back track, so i didn't go north again..

so then, when i'm in LA a week later, i find your website and i was bummed that i didn't find it.. oh well.. that's the way it is! NOW THE PHONE BOOTH IS GONE!! what a bummer! the weirdest thing is, i tried going northeast of kelso in the mohave and then i stopped.. and i have this feeling that is the direction of teh phone booth! can you tell me precisely where it is?

it was pretty much directly north, as the crow flies
ok- i'm going to stop GEEKING OUT now.. thanks a lot! email back if you like. thanks a lot! if you live near reading frenzy, please come to my opening in a couple weeks. i'll be there!

thanks! cynthia.

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000
From: Graham

To Mary Martin,

Ms. Martin, I'm sure that by now you've received so many emails regarding this one phone booth that you wish it would just go away (or rather, come back), but I must add my voice to the chorus.

I live in Melbourne, Australia, far far away from the Mojave desert, yet the very idea of an isolated phone booth in the middle of nowhere has such a universal appeal. Perhaps even more so since apparently in the US you can place calls TO phone booths!

Perhaps the national parks service feels that people should visit it's parks and preserves for more serious and ideologically sound reasons than to place or receive a phone call, but the fact remains that it is not really the business of the parks service WHY people enjoy their visits provided they don't break the law in doing so. After all, it seems perfectly acceptable in Australia that people go to extreme lengths to visit the "corners", all of which, I assure you, are much more remote than the town of Baker, California. By the way, the Australian corners are

26°S 138°E SA/NT/QLD border, Poeppel Corner,
26°S 129°E WA/SA/NT border, Surveyor General's Corner,
26°S 141°E North east corner of SA, bordering QLD, Haddon Corner,
29°S 141°E SA/QLD/NSW border, Cameron Corner

What other attraction in the middle of the Mojave desert even has a coin slot that people go out of their way to put money in?

I found out about this phone booth and it's demise from Deuce of Clubs, http// I found Deuce of Clubs in a roundabout way from http// which is a site devoted to obtaining and displaying photographs taken at integer degree values of latitude and longitude. It's a fascinating concept - photographs from literally all over the world at 1 degree intervals of latitude and longitude. This may seem an arbitrary and pointless exercise to some people, yet this sort of thing fires people's imaginations.

Recognise your phone booth for what it was, an internationally renowned, if somewhat odd, attraction, which even generated income. Perhaps with a little thought you could make it make money instead of making more bl**dy emails for you to read! For example there is a company in Australia which builds public access internet terminals which are installed in airports and shopping centres. Such a unit with a suitable (expensive, but not prohibitive) fee structure might well generate a healthy income at this site, using the existing phone line! Or perhaps you should seek out other similarly remote phone booths (such as the one outside the Silverton pub, west of Broken Hill, Australia), provide the phone numbers of those booths and simply let people go there to spend their money making (pointless?) international calls. You just might have THE phone booth with the greatest revenue in all of North America if you market it right!

Please, look on this thing as an opportunity, not a nuisance, after all, America, and particularly California, is supposed to be the land of opportunity and free enterprise!

Graham W.
Melbourne, Australia

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000
From: Bill D.

found your page (don't know how) and after ages of reading about your fascinating relationship with the phone booth (and being unable to call Mary because I'm at work in Australia).

Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2000
From: Brett T.

Latest news in the conversation with PacBell.

I have been going several rounds with PacBell about the phone number for the phone booth. They have said I can have it.

do you live in the 760 area code?
The question now is what to do with it. This brings up a lot of questions. Can another site be found which will work? Just how much is it to renew the right of way?
that would be a question to ask pac-bell, the nps, or both. and there would be the matter of eight years' past fees
Would the cima mine be interested in offering up a bit of land to host the booth?
well, that wouldn't work, because the phone poles don't go to their property, and putting in a line of poles is *very* expensive
Are there people out there willing to send a couple bucks to help in the effort?
possible. but the nps plan is to remove all the poles, so ... dunno
More as it develops.
thanks, keep us posted.

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000
From: Brett T.

I think I may have misread you. I thought from your comments on the website that you might care about trying to reestablish the phone booth. Based on my assumption, I have sent you a couple emails now and have received what I call a "can't do attitude". Sure there are always reasons why something can not be done. PacBell started out with that approach on the phone number. Simple polite insistence and a positive attitude produced results there.

There is no reason a person would have to pay past dues on the right of way. Yes to extend the poles to the Cima mine would be expensive. Hence the question of whether the phone booth community would want to help in that. I am not from the area, so maybe there is another place which people would like and the NPS doesn't control. I am willing to supply a booth and phone. The question is where will it end up? If there is a private business on the out skirts of the nearby town which would be willing to have a small campsite and host a phone, that is another possibility.

The one thing which isn't helpful is a can't do attitude or offering comments in that light.

gee, thanks so much for the lecture.

y'know, we're SO sick of people taking us to task because we don't have the "correct" attitude about this or that. we've been kind to you, we've answered your e-mails, but we've also tried to clue you in, but you refuse to open your brain, even though you obviously have NO grasp whatsoever of what's gone on out there.

one last attempt:

the plan of the government is to expunge what already exists in the mojave (so-called) "preserve." they have forced an existing cinder mine to cease operations, and they have forced the removal of the phone booth by pac-bell. if you think they're going to let you install NEW man-made structures -- especially a line of telephone poles -- you're off your tree. getting pac-bell to give you a phone number is not the same as getting the government to give you right-of-way in the mojave desert. sheez, face reality!

it would be one thing for the nps and pac-bell were to put the booth back where it was. this *could* happen. probably won't. sorry for not "thinking positively." we just know what govermnent is like.

however, putting up "a phone booth" somewhere else isn't the same. the point of the mojave phone booth was that it was put there innocently. putting one up for the express purpose of attraction doesn't interest us. you want a managed experience, go to disneyland.

gee, we sure do apologize for not being "helpful," but you tell us you want to build a daisy-bridge to the moon, and we're probably going to tell you you're nuts. we're pretty familiar with the booth situation and we're only giving you the facts. you want happy "can-do" thoughts, write to tony robbins. or another vapid cult leader of your choice.

From: Janne W.
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000
Subject: Buongiorno!

Here's a copy of the Email I sent to Mary Martin:

Dear mrs. Martin,

I am truly disappointed in the conduct of applicable authorities what comes to the policy in managing the dilemma concerning the so called Mojave phone booth.

I am convinced you have in your knowledge the problems and the resolutions determined thereof as a consiquence of increased public interest towards the booth. However, I use my voice as a citizen of the international community and a member of the fellowship for the booth when I state that, the termination of the phone service in the desert has influenced and angered a multitude of people all around the connected world, notwithstanding their physical location.

Unenlightened of possible changes or differing new decisions about the definite fate of the phone booth, my mere intention is to bring into your attention the displeasure of many in this matter. Taking into account that a very few people take determined action in issues such as this, I feel convinced to say that this manifestation of opinion could be multiplied by thousands to give even a faint idea of the number of people affected.

Yours Sincerely,

Janne W.

From: Raymond H.
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000

<dumb question> is the glass from the actual mojave phone booth? </dumb question>

"wouldn't do ya much good if it wasn't!" -- little bill (unforgiven)

From: Richard
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000


I'd like to congratulate you most deffinately on the construction of your site, and the QUALITY content,

I am very pissed by the way!! After having a bit of time of from phoning the boothe, i restarted a couple of days ago only to find it had been disconnected!! - wounded, I live in England, and getting reasons from the operator why it wasn't working was impossible (and I mean impossible), the only way I got an answer was to look at your site - you should be charging the bastards!!

From: Marti
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000


Bureaucracy is keeping us from nature

So, the Valley of Fire State Park automated fee collecting machines are a "huge bust"? This time it's state employees wanting MORE money, but it could have been the BLM or any other public land management entity pleading for more money and/or land. I use the word, "public" advisedly because many of these gun-toting bureaucrats treat the public as interlopers. I believe they're ignoring their mandate under the Historic Sites Act "to operate and manage historic and archaeologic sites,... to accommodate the public" Some of them drive Humvees, others fly private planes and still others live in housing paid for by us, but there's no such thing as "enough" for these civil servants, is there?

Why do state and federal land managers shoehorn us into a few parks and then gripe about overuse? Why are they barricading roads that have been used for decades, labeling MILLIONS of acres "Wilderness Areas?" This is not legal according to the Wilderness Act. (I've read it.) Now, much of our public land is off limits to anyone incapable of carrying gallons of water for miles.

I recently noticed that among approximately 300 people present in a casino restaurant, only about 2% were fit enough to hike any distance into a designated "Wilderness Area". Is this any way to treat tourists? Isn't it also blatant discrimination against people in wheelchairs, the elderly, the infirm and the very young? What use is a legacy -- a heritage that's accessible only to athletes and authorized bureaucrats?

I sent in that ONE letter to that newspaper and they published it right away (June 30th, 2000). Yeah, I was both shocked and pleased. I've also sent out letters, different ones, to all three networks and to other sites too, constantly harping on the loss of our freedom to visit our own public lands. I HATE the "Park Pukes", whatever badges they wear.

Thanks for keeping up the good work!

PS Yeah, we talked to you one afternoon at the Mojave Phone Booth. You probably don't remember and that's okay too. Just keep me in mind because I AM an activist looking for a venue.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: NPS at it big time this year!
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000

The NPS is really stepping up their "grab and destroy" mission this year. I see what you mean by the Booth being the least of what is going on.

I was surfing the net, looking for nothing in particular, when I came across another NPS land grab, this time at Gettysburg.

Seems some yokels (including a demolition company looking for publicity) didn't like the 300-foot observation tower near the Gettysburg battlefield, so... the NPS, by court order, took over the $3 million structure and the land it was situated on, and promptly reduced it to a $30,000 pile of scrap steel on July 3. They put a lot of hard workers out of a job in the process.

Of course, Bruce Babbitt was flown in at taxpayer expense to witness the spectacle.

"It's not a good day in Gettysburg when the National Park Service can take what it wants," Uberman said.

Sound familiar?

Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000
From: molie

A true story of The Mojave Phonebooth I grew up in Tehachapi (in the mountains above The Mojave Desert) and was on my way to go motorcycle riding with my mom when i was but a young lass. Trouble was, when my dad left for work, he had told us NOT to drive the pick-up because a valve had blown. Mom decided that a valve was not a good enough reason from keeping us from riding when it was sooo hot. I was about I didn't realize the magnitude of a Blown Valve. We got out on 395...or is it 14 there? (I live in West Virginia now...hard to remember these details) and holy christus on a crutch, the truck started making a funny noise and I looked behind us, and lo-and-be-fukkin-hold, there was just a bunch of smoke back there! So we pulled over, and Mom sez she's gonna ride back to the Mojave Phone Booth and call Uncle Jack to come and get us and tow the truck back to town. Well, growing up in a backwards-ass redneck family, that was not acceptable. So I said, "No, Mom.!!..I'll ride back."

WELL, as I was so valiantly riding back to The Booth, a truck-load full of redneck fucks passed me hollering obscenities (I wish I could remember what they said), I flipped them off, screaming that they were Backwards-Ass-Inbred-Fuck-Holes, and they turned around and came back at me...throwing beer bottles at my head. I think it was Coors Light bottles. They made three passes before they bored of me and I finally made it to safety within The Booth. Uncle Jack came and saved our asses...only to have them reamed by Dad when he got home.

I will be ever-grateful for The Booth and am sad to hear that it is now no more.

The Fair and Alluring Mistress of Mullets

Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000
From: DD
Cc: Deuce of Clubs
Subject Mojave Phone Booth

Lets have that guy in New Mexico starting fires....and now you. As he was wrong, so are you and the other decision makers. If the problem was public impact on the land, then you should have done a better job in policing the area.

Its like abortion really...; if you don't want it, kill it! You did a good job of killing it.

Now I wonder if you think this will stop people from going to the site. I know I will stop by there the next time I drive to booth or not. What I will NOT do is spend any money in the Park above what is necessary to enter.

You had a choice (and a voice) and you chose POORLY.

Good Day.

From: Octavia
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000

Been lookin' through your pages a while. I can't even remember how I found the site to begin with! Anyway, just wanted to commend you on the fantabulous site... I *did* recall hearing something about a phone booth out in the middle of nowhere a long time ago & guess snipit of memory is what caught my eye when I opened one of the pages.

Thanks for sharing your trip, pics & comments.... I wasn't able to make it all the way to the end but skipped around enough to gain a better understanding of what I'd heard eons back about the booth. I'll have to come back later & read more -- very entertaining!

Needless to say, I was *bummed* that whatever 'authority' (?) felt like they had to yank it up. Again, didn't read everything but I think I spotted their main reason -- people left too much trash for their one guy to handle?! As if they couldn't have put out a few trash barrels to facilitate garbage pick up! Or maybe the booth was getting more attention than whatever it was the naysayers were up to at that moment in time... wouldn't want that to happen.

Thanks -- and yes, please include me on your 'unobtrusive' site updates!


Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000
From: MK
Subject: Hi! Your site has been added to our Bizarre links

What a great experience you've been through, except for the end result. You would think they could at least spring for a phone to the miners' houses to compensate.

Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000
Subject: WHY??

How hard would it have been to place a trash can next to the booth and to post "No Fires". They do it at most other sites in the park.

makes you wonder whether the real target was the booth or the cima mine, doesn't it?
The pay phone will soon be a part of history, We all have a mobile phone these days. Too bad the park could not see it this way.

From: Kay Lee
Subject: where is the booth now?
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000

has anyone contacted you with info on what they (the evil booth removal people) did with the booth? Is it in a junk pile in Baker, or Barstow? Or is it is a secured facility (doing hard time) somewhere? If they refuse to put it back, I would love to have it for my backyard (along with several thousand other people, I'm sure).

well ... YEAH

we've been trying to track it down. pac-bell maintains that it has been destroyed. this has not been confirmed.

Maybe we should stage a sit-in (how 60's). Everyone goes to the former booth site and refuses to leave until they bring the booth back. A grass roots movement, you know. Obviously, we would need to wait until it cools down there a bit, like September. We could ask booth rights activists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell to sing---well maybe not. If the booth has not been crushed yet, I hope it does not fall into the wrong hands, like a shadowy underworld figure who will mistreat it and then sell it to the highest bidder, on the black market.

Enough silliness.

that person's body would never be found

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000
From: Mark

Has any thought gone into having the booth (which doesn't exist now) or at least the immediate area (which will have to be clarified) around it classified as a historic area which then would be entitled to protection? From what I've read so far, it would appear that Mary and her boss John would likely not follow through even with such a designation unless some real heat, hotter than the Mojave can offer, begins burning their bottoms.

She obviously has some serious influence from what I've gathered so far. I strongly agree with the Barstow newspaper article which stated this is very much a government land grab! What the entire class should get at least half a clue by now is that the Clinton Administration has, through their green policies of two terms, caused much of this semi-gestapo attitude from the NPS. If tree-hugger Gore is elected, it is my opinion that the screws will be tightened faster and even further, giving John, Mary, and others with cushy digs in the NPS even greater authority to further curb public activities in our so-called National Park System. This agency is doing a good job of embarassing the very source of their existence, and too few people are complaining against it. The Service has been considering restricting use by horseback riders (a favorite activity of mine) on established trails in the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas, the nation's first National River. Some in my state of Arkansas get the U.S. Forest Service confused with the NPS. My experience from years back has the NPS as more pushy and arrogant than their USDA cousins, and this includes campsite management of people. Remember the reason they get away with it is bureaucracy at the forefront, with our lack of action to correct it a close second. We the People are going to have to make the time and become more involved in tackling bureaucracy as they have lawyers we don't have, they have money we don't have (it's taxed from you,) and worst of all, they have the authority we don't have! Want change? You're going to have to size up the scope of your enemy(ies), strategize, equip, and begin fighting back with your God-given right as Americans are granted. If there's something the taxpayers want in the present status-quo, griping alone likely won't accomplish much. Money Talks! It could take years to reestablish the Booth in it's rightful place as we'll likely have to take on the green groups for starters. Remaining unified in the Purpose to restore the Booth is CRITICAL so let's all stay in class, no quitters please! If anyone in the class is a member of any environmental group who has a stake in the proposed Mojave National Park, it's time to discretely and tactfully interject your opinions with your peers. Get people talking, and from there a stronger strategy can be devised depending on the feedback. Whenever you meet those of influence, try to bring up the Booth and it's influence on many around the globe.

I agree with others who have posted that it's existence for greater than 25 years, combined with continued utility to nearby residents, and the fact that we the Taxpayers (consider too the locals) who should have a real say in the matter did not receive due process as being heard before any action was taken either by NPS or Pac-Bell, especially since Pac-Bell had made a publicly published statement during 1998 of it's commitment to maintaining the utility for residents, in which to my present understanding, NPS did not refute or respond against it!

The point another post cited that the telephone as a technology is obsolete as one of the reasons to remove the Booth is sorry and lame, and I'm being nice. Even though there is cellular service in the area as some posts prove, I have yet to hear of any fiber optic being installed in the immediate vicinity. Even if the Dish satellite service is cited as advanced technology, it's not a two-way form of communication. The NPS has convieniently caved in to the politically correct who run the asylum while SMILING as they do it. Remember these political pawns have authority from those higher in the Food Chain of "Warsh-in-tun." We should be reading an even larger message in the tea leaves. The Booth was first, what next? By the posts I'm reading, it's time to insist on change - and new politicians who will listen to the little people being a welcome start. It goes farther than that so be aware not only the Booth is gone, literally a part of our souls were taken too.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Another response - disappointing
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000

I got a response from John Reynolds (Mary Martin's boss) today and at first I was pleased that he had responded, but when I opened the letter I found the text of the letter Mary had sent me... VERBATIM. Even the grammatical error of a semicolon where a comma should be in the first paragraph was there.

So, that tells me... John Reynolds is just a puppet of Mary Martin on this issue. She just emailed him a copy of her letter and told him that was how she was responding to letters on the issue. So, not having any opinions of his own, and obviously lacking in any compassion for the Booth or its worldwide aficionados, that is what he sends out.

No responses from senators or congressmen yet, and not too hopeful that this will happen. They're too busy figuring out how to harass marijuana smokers to waste time on a lowly lonely phone booth. Have you or anyone else you know gotten responses from anyone other than the NPS's California offices?

I did send another letter to Mary yesterday, attempting to clarify the issue of the white rock pile (though it won't change her mind, at least it might persuade her to omit this mistruth from the form letter she's sending everybody.) I'll probably just get another copy of the unmodified form letter in response.

So, it's looking like more and more of a certainty... the phone booth is dead and gone forever.

Unless we can get someone with $$$ to pay for hooking one up for us elsewhere !! HA HA HA! Are any famous people with 50 grand to spare for running a new phone line fans of the Booth? But, of course, people may say they love the Booth, but then if someone asks for financial support - wrong number!!

Like you said, people are fickle.

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
From: John P.

Hi! I just learned about the booth, only to call the number and find out that its not there anymore. Yep, they DID put a "this number has been disconnected" message on it, after all. Its strange, but I think I'm actually going to call Mary Martin to if any of this has anything to do with me.

Oh well, maybe its just the "Lure of the Booth..."

From: Kurt H.
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000

I was at a wedding, comiserating about the booth with some other desert explorers this weekend. Two of them told me of a waterfountain that exists in the middle of the mojave somewhere... nothing else around. Sounded like an artesian spring by their description.

Maybe you could make that famous, too. Then we can watch the park service pump all of the water out of the ground just to spite you!

heard about that place, but -- luckily for it -- don't know where it is.

we could start the rumor that to drink from the water gives eternal youth -- that way, we'd get the AARP on our side ... oh, boy

From: Ryan J.
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000

Despite all the yay-yao you've dealt with, the mojave telephone booth has obviously been an inspiration to many. I discovered it [and your site] when the Montreal Gazette ran an editorial on it two weeks or so ago. Thus, last Friday, when I found myself sitting down at 8:00 pm to write a play in twelve hours for the Montreal Fringe Festival's Play in a Day competition [a team of actors and directors produce it at 8:00 pm the following evening, the hand-off occuring of course at 8:00 am] I turned to this strangely alluring and metaphysical symbol. Anyway, although I never made it to the booth I am a self-avowed desert rat. I spent quite a bit of time around Beowawe a few seven or eight years back [at the Dann ranch] doing battle with the BLM. I live here in Montreal now [I just moved here from Alaska, where I spent a few years where I moved from Taiwan where I spent a few get the picture] where I'm trying to get my first novel published while writing and rediscovering the horrors of having to learn the French language. But enough about me, the reason I wrote was to show you the attached play, admittedly a twelve hour job, but fun nonetheless, and thank you for your site and wit. It's people like you that keep me from writing off the States all together.

where are you from again? canada? who's the prime minister, these days? (we amerycuns never seem to know ... )
Chretien, although here in Quebec most tend to ignore this [in fact, if you go to Quebec City you'll see signs leading you to the "National" Capital.]

By the way, I've been tooling around your site. JESUS, you do Borges proud. Fucking labyrinth. I noticed you said 4,000 pages in a message. I believe it. It's brilliant.

By the way, I remember Girl Trouble. Do they still play? I think I saw them play with Hazel or Gas Huffer in Eugene, OR back in the [er, days after] the day. Anyway, I'm definitely passing on your site others. Keep up the good work.

thanks. and yep, girl trouble's still kicking around.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Mary Martin responds!
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000

I was astonished to find in the mail today a response from Mary Martin. I had written her directly but apparently my letter to John Reynolds had been forwarded to her also.

Her response appears to be in line with the NPS party line given in press releases in newspaper articles about the Booth. However, I found it interesting that even she believes the myth that the rocks used to make the phone sign were trucked in by us.

I also find the term "large gatherings without permit" interesting. What defines a large group? 20 people? In that case, the hordes that descend on other NPS properties such as Yosemite should have permits also. And the stinger - the phrase "numerous complaints from local property owners." I know Charlie, Terry and Lorene weren't complaining. There is only one owner in the area of the Booth that could have been complaining, and complaints from just one person shouldn't have been grounds for removal of our Booth.

I'd like to find the address of "Lee Johnson" at Pac Bell so we could let him know how we feel.

Anyhoo, here is the letter


United States Department of the Interior
Mojave National Preserve
222 East Main Street, Suite 202
Barstow, California 92311

June 9, 2000

"Desert Tripper"

Dear "Desert"

This is in response to your letter to John Reynolds, Regional Director, Pacific West Region, dated May 23, 2000, regarding the removal of the telephone booth on Cima Dome in Mojave National Preserve. The phone booth was the property of, and ultimately removed by, Pacific Bell; not the National Park Service.

The telephone booth (with associated lines and poles) was the private property of Pacific Bell. The right-of-way for the telephone booth and associated transmission line expired in 1992 and Pacific Bell indicated no interest in renewal and did not request a renewal. New technologies have replaced the need for the telephone. Under the terms of the right-of-way, without a valid agreement Pacific Bell was obligated to remove their private property and restore the right-of-way to preinstallation conditions.

We understand the uniqueness of this phone booth; however, once it gained notoriety, it attracted numerous visitors and, unfortunately, not all visitors to the site share your ethic. Not only has there been documented resources damage (fire burning, large gatherings without permit, garbage scattered, vegetation damage and posted graffiti), but private property owners have also been disturbed. In addition, several truck loads of white decorative rocks were brought to the area by phone visitors who then outlined messages in the desert.

Pacific Bell and the National Park Service received numerous complaints from local property owners. Since the phone gained notoriety, the increased traffic resulted in vandalism, trespass, unattended campfires, stranded and lost visitors, and other problems. These issues made it necessary for the National Park Service to increase patrols to the area to ensure that visitors did not cause resource damage, exceed their camping authorization, violate wilderness values and, as necessary, to provide appropriate help and assistance.

The proliferation of trash required that our maintenance worker, from Baker, CA, conduct several clean-up drives in this area, all necessitated by visitor impacts.

In fact, a desert phone booth user, "Desert Chad," recently documented, in a note left at the booth, that the "place was a mess." He went on to say that he cleaned up two bags of garbage, but did not have time to clear the fire pits. He pleaded with other phone users not to "leave ANY garbage."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns regarding the care of resources at Mojave National Preserve.

Mary G. Martin

John J. Reynolds
Lee Johnson, Pacific Bell


Apparently correspondence is forwarded on to pac-bell, which may be good, though you've already said that unfortunately it doesn't look like there's a lot of interest there.

I wonder if the toll co's such as AT&T would care at all about the Booth? They were the ones profiting most from the calls. It would be interesting to see how many tolls to 733.9969 were generated in the past year. It would have to be at least in the tens of thousands.

I'm waiting to see if Feinstein or Lewis will respond on the issue. While i don't really have my hopes up for a positive response from them, legislator involvement is what got the phone at D.V. Junction reinstated...

We need to contact Ms. Martin again to set her straight on the rock pile, though. For one thing, there's not even one full truck load of white rocks there, let alone "several." Charlie even told me the story of how somebody dumped that rock there years ago when on his way to Aiken to get a load of cinder to avoid getting billed for it (apparently they calculated cinder weight by subtracting the official tare weight of the truck so anything already in there would have been billed as cinder at the mine.)

Well, at least we know they're reading our letters...

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000
From: Jim Ricker
Subject: Phone Booth, right?

Phone Whiners,

Your dead fascist composer will no longer linger over my rigid shell, as I stroll slowly over the sands of my homeland. The 1872 welfare mothers will die and I will live on, with my friend Coyote we will howl across the land and I will lay my eggs wherever I please, as God intended. The wheels of butt-ugly web-crazed little two legged trucks will be spinning elsewhere in the frantic cities, not crushing my children. My embryonic future is bright, for the whining weenies are on their way out thanks to Heroes like Mary Martin. All praises to the Center for Biological Diversity, for they have given voice to the People. You lose.


perhaps you meant to spell "tortoise."

did you know that tortoise comes from a late greek word meaning "evil demon?" it's true. you could look it up.

maybe we should have cast out the evil demons and left the booth where it was ...

(nice e-mail address, by the way, jim.)

From: §evenW4=
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000

Hey since the publicly you gave the booth destroyed it don't you think it your obligation to get it back if you have no idea how why don't you call those people that can sell you a phone booth and put it any where and just get a license to put it back in the desert OK I realize the park wont let you put it back unless you get a bunch of people to sign a list called list of people who want the fucking booth back and as for the money for all of this you have a web site sell shit common buy a box of krispy creams a crate of mello yellow what ever you have to do say by god ill get that damn booth back!!!!!

whoa, take a breath there, pal!

From: §evenW4=
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000

You know what new-York has a negative impact on the national environment why don't they tear that fucker down to.It really really pisses me off when the fucking politations ruin a public land mark like this what kind of negative environmental fucking inpack did the booth have did all the people walking up to it ruin the damn dirt you know what I say we should all ban to gether and fuck over those phone company pricks and get are fucking booth back I mean it not like porn stars where making the fuck magic happen in the booth or where I don't know why doesn't someone go check that out look for Mojave fucking on altavista well I'm still up on this whole getting the booth back so let do it I'm gonna start selling shit till I have enough to get are damn booth back!!!!

oxygen. it's called oxygen. lots of people breathe it. you might like it. try some. really.

Subject: One more address
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000

Since Mr. Babbitt presides over the NPS, maybe he might like to hear our thoughts on the demise of the Booth also.

Bruce Babbitt
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
(202) 208-3100

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000
From: Andria
Subject: desert thanks

So I'm almost ready to head out on my next desert trip, my first real desert camping experience.

When I got back to NY last summer, the first book I read was Abbey's Desert Solitaire. Words cannot describe its impact on me, but I'm sure that everyone who's ever read it knows just what I mean (and I'd be shocked if you hadn't!). I guess it's fitting then, that for my fist big trip I'll be heading out to Abbey-land, the Canyonlands, Slickrock, all of those places whose names I've memorized from "Monkey Wrench Gang" and the stack of maps on my table.

Mojave Desert Ramblings arrived last week and I devoured it in an afternoon. It was perfect timing -- one final dose of old-fashioned common sense, more than a few degrees removed from the fantastic romance of the few previous desert books I'd read. (I loved most of all the affirmation from old "Pop" about what people expect to find in the desert, what they need that they look for there. It makes more sense to me now than ever.)

After almost a full year of preparation -- since all I could really do about this desert jones is read -- I've done a lot of homework. I've practically memorized the Desert Survival Handbook. I've selected the most useful plant, wildlife and geology guides I could find. I've read fiction, non-fiction, legends and lore. I've fallen asleep to thoughts of what it's going to feel like to be sleeping out -there-. I've walked up and down the canyons of Manhattan with my mind a thousand miles away, in the -real- canyons.

And in a little more than a week, I'm going to actually be there!

I won't ever know if I'd have found this passion without the Mojave Desert Phone Booth. It feels so necessary and so "right" to me that I want to believe I would have. But it -was- the Booth that got me to the desert, and it was -you- who got me to the Booth, so big thanks are in order any way I look at it.

My life is so changed -- I really love it and I've never been happier.

it's great to hear that. for all the trouble and annoyance and everything else that the whole booth thing has entailed, the good things will outweigh the rest. and this e-mail will be one of the things we remember. thank you.

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000
From: Michael Y.
Subject: destruction of a Historic Cultural Landmark

Dear Mary Martin,

I urged you to take action to protect a Historic Cultural Landmark by saving the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth #760-733-9969 located in the Mojave Desert National Park.

While this may seem trivial to you, the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth has been there for over fifty-two years and was a tourist attraction to many. The National Park Service in their continuing effort to thwart public access and enjoyment of our park system has unilaterally removed the internationally known American Landmark.

The National Park Service could have come up with another solution to the problem of overuse besides the destruction of this Historic Cultural Land. The National Park Service has overacted with unjustified actions in an uneducated and non-democratic manor.

I am sure you will agree that the destruction of a Historic Cultural Landmark is a tragedy.

I urged you to have the Historic Land mark returned for the sake of our children so that they may visit this truly special, Historic Cultural Landmark which is a National treasure to all.

Please notify me of your opinion and/or actions concerning the destruction of Historic Cultural Landmark.


From: Mail
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000

Here is a letter I sent to Mary Martin. Please let me know what you think.I'd also like to see it posted on your site. Thanks.

Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2000
Subject: Mojave Phone Booth Removal

Ms. Martin:

I, like undoubtedly countless others, am writing in regards to the untimely removal of the Mojave Phone Booth. Needless to say, I was extremely disheartened at the news and found it's removal to be the antithesis of what our "Parks Service" is purported to represent. And although they may have had a large say in this move, it is my inclination that there is something deeper and uglier afoot.

As my preface might imply, I was a visitor of the booth and the people living in the surrounding areas. And in each and every one of my visits, I took great pains in cleaning up after myself, as well as others who might have left a bottle cap or two behind. You see, there was an unwritten rule: keep the area clean not only to observe and respect the environmental integrity of the land, but also to not give overpaid politicians such as yourself, an excuse to wield your illegally garnered power. Not only did I follow this rule, but countless others did, as well. Almost every time I visited the site, it was just as I had left it before: clean, neat and tidy. So there goes the BLM's theory that "increased public traffic has a negative impact on the National environment."

Despite the claims that our visits had such a negative impact, the fact remains that the maintenance of said areas comes directly out of the pockets of taxpayers such as myself. These are the same taxes that pay your inflated salary.

This is not to say that I take issue with footing the bill to maintain the parks, but as such, it is my belief that those that foot the bill should have more say in these issues. It would appear to someone that dares to rake through the muck to see the true underlying layers of politics, that an action like the removal of the Mojave Phone Booth is nothing more than an action of deterrence. In other words, the Parks Service and the BLM have no qualms whatsoever in making us taxpayers foot the bill for their politics, and in the same motion, prohibit us from enjoying what we are paying to maintain. In addition to this, they have no qualms whatsoever in writing bogus legislation to raise their already huge budgets annually; obviously serving to raise salaries and line pockets. That, Ms. Martin is in a word, unethical.

Whereas I agree that oftentimes unscrupulous characters can and do have a tendency to deface parks and recreation sites, the fact remains that taxpayers pay to repair the damage. If you prohibit and deter both honest and dishonest people from enjoying these sites, there is no money being spent. So where is the money allocated to repair these areas going? It doesn't take much thought to deduce that the removal of the booth was a concerted effort promulgated by several different agencies, and undoubtedly cost the taxpayers something. This must be why organizations like the Parks Service and the BLM are terrified of the phrase "financial disclosure".

It is no mystery that the BLM wants to seize the land that the Cima Mine is located on. On the pleasant occasions in which I have had conversations with Terry and Lorene, I have deduced that the only threat to your seizure of the land on which they operate besides the appeals they file, (which politicians can bury easily or filibuster until they can no longer afford to file appeals) is public awareness. The way of life that Terry and Lorene enjoy is in dire jeopardy. And if the mainstream public were made aware of the bullying tactics of the BLM and Green Parties, they just might be outraged. With the removal of a public icon such as the booth, the chances of them getting any public backup are nil.

Perhaps this was all part of the plan.

The removal of the phone booth did not serve to protect the underlying areas, as much as it has served to further your agendas. I mean let's face it. Exactly how much irreparable damage was being done to an area encompassing 10,000 square feet? After all, that was the center of all this hubbub. It was not as if people were taking their four-wheel-drive vehicles off of the designated roads and into the Joshua Trees. Roaming through the brush revealed to me, a virtually pristine landscape. There was no trash or refuse to be spoken of. And allow me to ask you, Ms. Martin, did you ever see this site firsthand to witness the carnage left behind by people like myself? I find the prospect of this to be highly doubtful. If you had, you might have met some of the nicest people in the State of California. I am sure they would have offered you lunch, or supplies that you might have needed.

I will close this letter by saying that when the booth was removed, along with it went a strange, yet wonderful comaraderie shared by people from all over the world. When strange and curious phenomena such as the booth disappear, the wonder and imagination-capturing qualities they create follow.

A Taxpayer

Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000
From: fingers

I was thinking about you this afternoon because my wife had picked out The English Patient from the videos at the library.

After watching a couple of scenes I was reminded just how bad the movie really was, and not just that it was undeserving of an oscar. It may go down as one of the most overrated movies of the century along with Ordinary People and Terms of Endearment. Any other nominations from your corner??

gone with the wind
Yes, I heard the sad news about your phone booth. Within the last couple of weeks, I saw Tom Brokaw (might have been peter jennings) do a piece on its disappearance. Actually they did a pretty good job at making the park service look like idiots and control freaks. I think they even did a shot of the booth from the sky which made me recall your rocket camera project. I remember that Brokaw (Jennings?) said something like "to know the booth was to love the booth." He actually sounded sort of fond and wistful.
(it was actually roger o'neill)
Well, it's all too bad. But as you said it should have been expected.
The Bastards.

Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000
From: Lara
Subject: Historic Act

No matter what the Historic Sites Act might read the NPS has a history of totally ignoring it. Like when they bulldozed the historic mining town of Saratoga Springs after Death Valley became a national park - under the stewardship of Dick Martin - Mary's husband.

well, being married to each other, at least they're making two people miserable, instead of four, as was once said about two other horrible people.
Plans were underway to do the same to Ibex Springs when it was saved at the last moment by the Mojave River Valley Museum who promised to take care of the site etc.

From: DT
Subject: Historic Sites Act!
Date Sat, 3 Jun 2000

I found an interesting site (ON NPS' WEBSITE AT THAT) concerning the Historic Sites Act of 1935. It may be debatable whether the Booth is an object of "national significance" to Uncle Sam, but this act might possibly be something that could be used in a legal appeal to get the Booth back.

Here are some excerpts

"It is declared that it is a national policy to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings, and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States."(Aug. 21, 1935, ch. 593, sec. 1,49 Stat. 666.)

The Secretary of the Interior, through the NPS, shall have the power to

"Contract and make cooperative agreements with States, municipal subdivisions, corporations, associations, or individuals, with proper bond where deemed advisable, to protect, preserve, maintain, or operate any historic or archaeologic building, site, object, or property used in connection therewith for public use..."

"Restore, reconstruct, rehabilitate, preserve, and maintain historic or prehistoric sites, buildings, objects, and properties of national historical or archaeological significance and where deemed desirable establish and maintain museums in connection therewith."

"Operate and manage historic and archaeologic sites, buildings, and properties acquired under the provisions of sections 461 to 467 of this title together with lands and subordinate buildings for the benefit of the public, such authority to include the power to charge reasonable visitation fees and grant concessions, leases, or permits for the use of land, building space, roads, or trails when necessary or desirable either to accommodate the public or to facilitate administration..."

Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000
From: Brett T.

I was thinking that since the number has been linked to a disconnected message, no one wants it. Maybe your idea of putting up another booth isn't so far off. What about having it at the Cedar mine. Then people will not only use the booth but protect the mine from foreclosure.

you'd need a phone line. there is but one phone line in the mojave. there is now only one phone still connected to it (now that the mojave phone booth and the kelso depot phone booth phones have been removed). when that phone is disconnected, the entire line will be taken down. there isn't a phone line out to the cima mine.
If the cost isn't prohibitive I might be willing to foot the bill. I would at least like to reserve the phone number until we can figure out what to do with it.
you could try ... but pac-bell might not be so keen on the idea.
So crank up the ideas. Is there another phone booth in the area where we can forward this number for the interim?
nope. that was it.

From: Yma
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000

I thought you might want to read this, in case you had not seen it already. )

Disconnect from history

Regarding Mitch Albom's column on Tuesday, " "Loneliest phone booth in world' falls to tech "progress'":

Albom obviously never visited the phone booth, but he decided to write about it anyway. We were there in early April for an article in our fall issue. There was no "environmental disturbance"; in fact, we were impressed by how clean the area was.

Vandalism of the booth was a moot point; it had stood for more than 50 years in this lonely location. It had tons of graffiti, all cool stuff, nothing obscene (unlike overpasses and walls in Phoenix) and everyone who traveled to the booth seemed to respect it.

The death of the phone booth was not because of the Internet, but because of the National Park Service, whose motto is "Visit your parks."

The Park Service did not want anyone visiting this location, period. There was no money being made by the Park Service in the middle of the Mojave Desert, so the booth had to go.

It's a shame that Albom never experienced the thrill of answering a telephone in the middle of the desert by saying, "Mojave phone booth, where are you calling from?" and being connected to England, Finland, Guam or Australia. Had he ever been to the phone booth, he might understand why this lonely piece of retrotechnology became so popular.

As to finding the quiet spots Albom so lovingly seeks, five miles in any direction from the phone booth are more quiet than any person can imagine with beauty that takes your breath away. But Albom will never see it because the Park Service plans to close the entire area. So, we didn't just lose a phone booth, we lost the desert.

-- Bob Moore, Editor,
Route 66 Magazine, Williams

From: Steve S.
Subject: Senate Bill
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000

This just in...

The BLM, in cooperation the National Park Service and various state and county authorities, is campaigning to introduce (to the U.S. Congress) Senate Bill #2880 to remove all those "huge letters on the sides of mountains" known to exist in the continental United States. The act is sited as the "Mountain Monogram Deterrence Act of 2000".

A spokesperson for the BLM says that record numbers of U.S. citizens took to the highways this past Memorial Day Weekend for the sole purpose of visiting these sites.

The BLM's official statement reads "increased public traffic has a negative impact on the National environment."

The bureau plans to utilize giant excavators, similar to the ones used in strip mining operations, to remove the monograms and truck them in in their entirety to an undisclosed location close to Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

When asked about what would be done about the ugly scars left as a result of the removal of the monograms, Robert Stanton of the National Park Service said "dunno, but they might be good locations for things like gas stations and mini malls".

From: Bryce D.
Subject: Trip to the Booth
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000

I just wanted to share my little trip to the booth this past weekend.

Within the last couple of weeks, I had just learned about the "Loneliest Phone Booth in the World" and I just got the urge to take a wild ass road trip to visit it. I was searching for directions to get to it sometime last week and learned of the booth's demise. I was shocked and pissed, but my aching curiosity made me still want to visit the remains of the booth. On a drunk Friday night with a friend of mine and his girlfriend, I came up with the plan to visit the booth the very next day. We were going to make it a trip of spontaneity. Visit the booth, check out Hoover Dam, and whatever else we wanted to go do.

We didn't leave until around 7pm on Saturday evening, so just like you on your first trip, we were going to get there in the middle of the night. Because of wonderful southern California traffic, we didn't arrive in Baker until 1am. According to the "Tallest Thermometer in the World", it was a chilly 99 degrees Fahrenheit. We couldn't believe it. We decided to eat at Bun Boy. As we sat there waiting for our order, we all started to get this feeling of excitement and anxiety. I knew we couldn't have been more than an hour from the booth. After what I consider "the worst dining experience of my life" at Bun Boy (the shakes were melted by the time we got them, the food tasted like rubber after the 45 minutes we waited for it), we got back on the I-15 and headed to the booth.

Finally, we saw the Cima Rd. exit. We found the dirt road off to the right and headed down the washboard. We past Charlie's place and the feeling in the car grew with more anticipation. Then there I saw the first telephone pole in the truck's high beams. It was absolutely beautiful. We followed the road that ran parallel with the line of telephone poles then I saw something shiny in the distance. It was another car, another visitor to the remains of the phone booth. Fifteen miles from nowhere and we found another person just as curious as we were. We walked around for a few minutes, checked out the concrete slab where the phone booth once stood, noticed the cut wires near the ground (very saddening), then opened up the cooler, and started to drink beer as we put up our tents. We set up camp, then just relaxed, slapping away the plethora of different flying insects. The sky was beautiful, so full of stars. Then we saw the moon rise from the eastern horizon. How much more gorgeous could this be. The silence in the desert was deafening, and there was once this phone booth here. Absolutely amazing. It was one of the most relaxing moments. I checked out my watch and it read 4am. We needed sleep because Sunday was going to be a long day.

So after a couple of hours, I woke up to the slam of a car door and its engine start. The other unknown visitor of the booth was leaving. Too bad, I wanted to hear his/her story. I woke up and it had to already be around 90 degrees. My buddy woke up and we walked around for a little while. I just had to sleep, 2 hours of sleep after 6 hours of driving and only getting 4 hours the night before wasn't going to cut it. I went back to sleep and woke up to my tent resembling more like an oven than shelter. It was 8am and 100 degrees. My buddy had woken up as well and we decided to check out where exactly we were. After looking on the AAA maps, we decided to try to correspond the roads indicated on the map to those around the phone booth area. We saw on the map the word "Tank" and had to go and see if we could find one of these. We walked about 200 yards south of the booth and found what looked like a cattle staging area. OK, I feel sorry for these cows. We then saw two water tanks. Water was spraying out a hole in one of the pipes near the top of a tank. Wow, we couldn't believe it. We proceeded to walk back and decide what were going to do the rest of the day. Photographs, that was exactly what we needed to record the trip. We took several pics of the concrete slab and the telephone pole in which the line to the booth lead from. Then we heard a diesel truck. You have got to be kidding me. It was a rancher and his sun, I waved as they passed, going through the cattle guard near the remains of the booth. I'm positive he was laughing at us. Oh well, I know I didn't give a rat's ass. We had set out to visit what was left of the Mojave phone booth, and we found it. A few more photos were taken and we packed up the truck and headed to Hoover Dam. All I could do was think how in the hell to get the phone booth back.

I just want to thank you for sharing your Mojave Phone Booth experiences. I'm just pissed I didn't hear about the phone booth and your site sooner.

From: Judith
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000

After 12+ years of a pac bell phone booth in our mountain location, Pac Bell has disconnected our payphone, claiming it is too expensive to maintain. We are in a remote location 8 miles from town and the nearest phone (well, ok not so remote compared to the mojave!). We have 200-300 visitors per day in the summer, and none in the winter (too much snow). Have we come down to "it must make money" to have a payphone service? Pac Bell wants to charge us around $900 per year!!!! to reinstall the phone, and we don't even get to keep the $ in it! Thanks if anyone has help to offer.

I was sorry to hear the Mojave phone had been removed as I was hoping to use it to justify keeping ours in service! Keep it beautiful out there!

they also took out the kelso depot phone not long ago. sounds almost like a concerted plan.

From: Marti L.
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000

This is a copy of a letter I wrote on the 24th of May. I sent it to all three major television networks and to Sharon Domingo too. Thought you might like to have it for your records. I can think of no other way to stop the Park Mismanagers except with plenty of horrible publicity. They and their "friends" have no shame, but they might be forced to pay attention if the public becomes involved to the point of voting the Beholden to the Sierra Club politicians out of office.

We can do that, you know!

Marti L.

I have read the entire text of the "Wilderness Act" and no where in the wording do I find that any "Park Managers" have the authority to arbitrairily close existing roads to the public without notice. It appears to me that closing well-traveled, well-defined existing roads to ancient landmark/ historic sites and other points of beauty and interest is illegal. Yet, they do so in Nevada and California all the time. We are helpless to stop them. The only recourse I believe we can pursue is publicity. Public awareness is minimal, especially in urban areas that are not affected by the outrageous behavior of an army of despotic fanatics. I have personally observed these autocrats of our nations park system continually overstepping their mandates and usurping the rights of the people by closing roads with no notification what-so-ever.

I am beginning my own publicity campaign. I believe we need to correct the impression that the "Wilderness Act" entitles armed thugs to intimidate civilians. I think they are behaving as a police force with barely controlled arrogance and hostility toward the very public they are supposed to be serving.

The following is a letter that I sent to Nevada's Senator Bryan and to Peter Jennings last night. I am sending this letter with your e-mail address at the top of the heading to him also.


Date: 5/23/2000

The following letter is one that I wrote to one of our Nevada Senators. He is the author of the infamous 'BLACK ROCK BILL". Never have I seen so many ignorami who do not understand the legal definition of "Wilderness Area" OR (likely in some cases) -- never have there been so many granola-crunching, bug loving fanatics who loathe tourists and think the land belongs to them and nobody else.


Honorable Senator Bryan

Thank you for your prompt response to my comments about the proposed "Black Rock Bill". Along these same lines, are you aware that the "National Park Mismanagers" have now closed the "Phone Booth"? (SEE WEB PAGE http// They and Pac Bell said too many people were visiting this international cult classic -- driving down a well-established mining road to get there, of course. The animals in that area were once accustomed to huge mining trucks. Now they do not seem to mind automobiles in the least. The people driving to the Phone Booth stay on the road and return the way they entered. They also leave the area as clean as it was when they arrived.

The second time I visited the Phone Booth, there was still NO litter anywhere, although a news crew from Boston, a guy from New York, another man from Arizona and an entire family that had recently been dispossessed by the Park Service were there. My two friends and I had a picnic and we left no evidence of our meal behind us either. I guess if we ENJOY our National Parks, the Federally Employed Empire Builders (the same kinds of arrogant asses who burned people out of their homes in New Mexico) feel compelled to stop us.

I implore you to take back some of their illegally acquired powers and to return the land to us for our enjoyment. People who cannot carry gallons of water while laden with backpacks cannot view at least 50% of the state of Nevada because of the cavalier and capriciously designated "Wilderness Areas". The formally open roads are now forbidden even to bicycles. I'm sure our forefathers never envisioned the land they put into public trust being forbidden to older people, to young children and to the handicapped/disabled.

You probably have NO idea how angry everyone is becoming over these statewide arbitrary road closures. Is there some kind of online survey you could institute? I'm certain that if you were able to do so, you'd find out that Jar Ridge is only the beginning. People are mad as hell and they want the park "blockades" to stop.

By the way, why do all those Park Rangers and others of their ilk carry guns? Is it to shoot "civilians'? I have nightmares about their murdering some hapless tourist who wanders into an interdicted area. Your voice, as a legislator, could be the voice of reason. You could be the one to restore a measure of sanity into the management of our National Parks and other public lands.

Thanks for your time and interest,
Marti L.

From:"Isaac S.
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000

Did anybody submit a photo of the booth to ?

i think we did hear from someone there at one point
I havnt seen it listed in their worldwide listing of phonebooths.
i guess that now that's appropriate ...
P.S. It would have been cool to box off that one. 8-)
that may have occurred. but we're not saying.

It was a place of cult comparable to tomba of Jim the Morrison to Paris. It was a must for who journeyed from California, nearly like the photo in front of the Colosseo for a Japanese tourist in transit from Rome. Now the myth not is more a zealous state civil employee, with the aid of two technicians of the " Pacific Bell " has removed in order always the isolated telephone more of the world.

The telephone booth was found half in the beautiful one of the desert of Mojave, in California and had been installed forty years ago. Already the lease of the cabin deserves space but still more curiosity provokes the motivation of the discouragement the telephone in the desert squillava too much often.

Three years ago in fact, the disowned cabin more of the planet had been discovered from Internet that ne it made a cult place. Groups of tourists had begun to visit the desert for farces to only photograph in the cabin, situated between the sand and the cactus, creating an unusual traffic in the area. Moreover the cybernauti they had begun to telephone regularly, from all the world, to the cabin in the desert in order to see if someone answered. Often they had fortune the cornetta it was raised from the tourists in visit priming unusual disowned conversations between. But the heavy traffic of the tourists risked to " having an impact negative " on the atmosphere, second the leaders of the National Park that encloses the desert

sure, it's not mail, but an italian article, translated by babelfish. it still makes more sense than most "legitimate" articles about the booth...

Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Jeff F.
Subject: Fighting City Hall Is Hard

But it is not without its own rewards. I am truly saddened by the loss of this fascinating piece of Americana. I wish the local people would file a complaint with the California PUC as I think this could be reversed. There is no law stating that a Utility HAS to provide a service however, existing services usually must remain in place. When Pac Bell refused to restore service to Death Valley Junction, a petition drive and the intervention of two senators forced the phone company to install a new line at a cost of $40,000.

(emphasis mine. -- doc)
(I was the permit inspector on the job since it was buried on the state right-of-way.)
so it *can* be done ...
On another note Under the antiquities act, I believe it is ILLEGAL to remove historical objects that are over 25 years old. Yeah, I know that's a stretch
may not be such a stretch -- hell, a car 25 years old is considered a "classic!"
but I'd sure like to see the park prosecuted for their vandalism.
well, it wasn't the nps who removed it, it was pac-bell, actually. but it was no doubt at the strong urging of the nps
I do wish that someone would do an investigative piece on the Park Thugs forcing Sharon's family off the mine.
we second that!
When do the good guys get a victory?
when washington stops running the country and power goes back to the states and the people, as they used to say.

From: Ben B.
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000

As I strolled over to the Detroit Free Press website ... I learned the terrible news. The phone booth was gone, and life will never be the same. Suddenly, I was filled with inconceivable grief. I never made that telephone call. I never seized the day. The diem was never carped... or something. Damn. I see no reason to continue living ... Now, I continue the grieving process.

From: Jonathan O.
Subject: Own your own booth in the mojave?
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000

Now that the booth is gone, any thoughts on re-incarnating you idea of "Own your own booth"?

You mentioned one problem is sharing the line. I assume the line is still there, so all you got to do is get a phone there. Or at least, next time someone goes out, take a handset with some clips on the phone cable (like Telcos use) and see if you can dig up the cable and connect to it.

Of course, if they've disconnected the wire from the exchange, then it's hopeless, and I understand the "Park" will not "allow" you to install your own phone booth.

your final paragraph sums up the problem.

Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
From: Edson
Subject: Encore?

Deuce --

I just happened to check your web site on 5/21/00, and noticed what I now think may have been posted that same day, the report on the end of the Mojave Phone Booth.

So it appears the MNP lady I spoke with at length at the Will's Fargo Motel was actually reporting an active debate within the NPS on what to do with the Mojave Phone Booth, and in retrospect I suppose what she told me reflected her own posture favoring maintaining the Booth, and proceeding with the development necessary to support the added visitor load to the site. Looks like her side lost, eh? BTW, I checked my notes, and I actually found a note of mine identifying her as "Pam" for what it's worth. (She never offered her last name.)

Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
Subject: MPB on the BBC
From: Andrew

Just a quickie... I thought you'd like to know that the MPB made it onto the BBC

From: Yorx
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000
Subject: Idea for getting the Mojave Phone Booth back

Have you considered taking the phone booth that you have in your living room and bringing it to the Mojave Phone Booth site, and hooking it up?

they would just cart off that booth, as well
It should work since the phone company has decided to let the number continue ringing.
it is no longer ringing. the "disconnected" message has finally been connected.
I would love to see the phone booth back up and running. BTW, I really enjoyed the webpage.

Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
From: Curt


A few of us in Long Beach are creating a support group to deal with Booth Separation Anxiety. We meet every Wednesday evening (9:30) at a bar on Temple and 4th.

Date: Sat, 27 May 2000
From: Julian

I am saddened to hear of the closing of the Mojave Phone Booth. My Tucson cousin, who knew of my interest, gave me the news and two Toronto newspapers have also now reported its demise. Perhaps a memorial plaque could be placed at the site.

the nps would take it right down. (they took down the plaque we put on the booth itself last year)
It was fun while it lasted.

Julian B.
Toronto, Canada
(#4 on the list of callers)

From: Mark
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000

I appreciated the wackiness of the Mojove Phone Booth as much as anyone, and I was responsible for adding it to our database of the outre at ufomind.

Had I the chance, I would probably have stopped by and taken a look.

However ...

I think it was probably time for it to be removed. I think the National Park Service has to walk a thin line between serving visitors and preserving the environment, and I don't think the booth was necessarily attracting people to the area for the right reasons.

the "right" reasons ... hmm. even if that's true, if it's "public" land, then the public can do what they want ... supposedly.

we'll repeat this again: it was never our intention for people to go trooping out there. the intention of our project was for people to call the phone, and we'd go out from time to time and do other things, but that was that. people, however, are going to do whatever people are going to do. and yes, all the the piling-on did lead to the seizure of the booth. and that's lousy. but we still think the government was wrong to do it (and to do it sneakily) -- just as they were wrong to peremptorily shut down the cima mine.

The Park Service has done a very good job with Big Bend National Park, another desert area, and I hope they are ultimately able to turn the Mojave National Preserve into a full National Park also. The Booth was hardly of such historical or cultural importance that it should have been preserved.
on what basis do you make that judgment?
At least it's not the sort of thing that's going to motivate me to sit-in at the NPS headquarters and sing Kumbaya.
same here. (then again, we stopped giving serious thought to ufos after about the eleventh grade, too ... )

From: kimberlee
Date Fri, 26 May 2000

i guess i will never understand why "authorities" feel the need to put a stop to something harmless, rather than spending their time and our money taking care of real problems. i could see the phone booth kidnapping if people were flocking out there in hoardes, and making a mess and bothering the natives, but it doesn't seem that was at all the case. i wonder how far lorene has to go to make phone calls now. the authorities can be SO backasswards, and it seems for the past year i have been personally subjected to this more and more. is it getting worse? or am i just in more of a place to be effected by it than i used to be? hrmm...

tho ya know, it's kinda cool i think that a huge buncha people didn't actually make the pilgrimage to the booth, that kinda confirms my theory that the super mainstream touristy types, while thinking it is novel and amusing momentarily, would not be interested enough to actually go contaminate those places, and will stick to their package deals from the travel agents. also that, mostly the people that have the tenacity to go on such adventures as the phone booth thing will usually respect the space. (although this said, it makes it even harder to understand why the authorities don't leave it alone)

because they can't leave anyone or anything alone.

From: Master Sergeant
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000


I'm sure you're already well aware of the global attention the booth has drawn. I'm with the US Air Force serving in England. A few months ago, while pulling a long graveyard shift keeping the world safe for democracy, I saw a little "human interest" filler story on the internation edition of CNN - you guessed it - about a little, lonely phone booth out in the middle of nowhere. Unless the story's about a terrorist act or the invasion of a small country. we normally keep the sound turned way down. This story caught my eye though, so I reached up and cranked the volume. Unfortunately, all I caught was the "from the Mojave desert..." and the fade to black.

On a whim, I did a couple of searches using the magic words and voila! I came to your site. I visited pretty frequently, enjoying all the responses from other booth heads around the world, but eventually I drifted away.

Then, this week in the European Stars & Stripes (the newspaper for American service members serving in this side if the pond) I saw a little snippet telling of the booth's demise. Even here, 6000 miles and eight time zones away, I felt like I'd been robbed.

Thanks for the updates.

you bet, sir

(oops! not supposed to call you "sir," are we, sarge? you WORK for a living!)

(yeah, got that from stripes.)

(not stars & stripes. just stripes.)

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: steve n.

What a bunch of a**holes. Environmental damage? What, like the old Mint 400 trophy dash over in Nevada? Things like this must stop. I will try to do my part. Carry on now.

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: Michael Y.
Subject: SAVE the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth #760-733-9969

I did my part and wrote your congressmen.

I recommend you list a form letter of complaint on your website so people can copy and paste it. Also, I recommend you list the contacts fax and e-mail address to make it easier for the world to blitzkreig this issue.. Good luck

May 26, 2000

Senator Diane Feinstein,
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202 228-3954 F

Re: SAVE the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth #760-733-9969

Dear Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I urged you to take action to protect a Historic Cultural Landmark by saving the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth #760-733-9969 located in the Mojave Desert National Park.

While this may seem trivial to you, the Mojave Desert Telephone Booth has been there for over fifty-two years and was a tourist attraction to many. The National Park Service in their continuing effort to thwart public access and enjoyment of our park system has unilaterally removed the internationally known American Landmark.

I am sure the National Park Service could have come up with another solution to the problem of overuse besides the destruction of this Historic Cultural Land. The National Park Service has overacted with unjustified actions in an uneducated and non-democratic manor.

I am sure you will agree that the destruction of a Historic Cultural Landmark is a tragedy.

I urged you to have the Historic Land mark returned for the sake of our children so that they may visit this truly special, Historic Cultural Landmark which is a National treasure to all.

Please notify me of your opinion and/or actions concerning the destruction of Historic Cultural Landmark.

Michael Y.

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: August Seventh

Great site! It's truly a shame they took out the booth.

I'm curious though, if the Mojave booth was the "most remote phone booth" in the US, I wonder where, in the US, is the location with the "most public phones in one place". Likewise, the "highest point a public phone booth is located" and the "lowest point".

Perhaps a pointless exercise ...

surely you are aware of the irony of saying something like that to us ...
Keep up the great coverage.

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: yo momma

The people must arise!

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: Magnus von K.


I just found your website today and I love it! I read through all of your reports and I'm really sad that they removed it. I would have loved to go there. I'm from Germany and I love the idea of "middle of nowhere", 'cuz we don't have that in Europe.

From: Doug H.
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
Subject: Park?

National Park, that sounds nice. Of course that means no firearms, no mining, no four wheeling, no motorcycling, no camping, no loud parties, no burning man effigies, and certainly no esoteric pay phones.

Maybe the paved road will cause those of us impatient types to break the speed limit - of course there will have to be a speed limit on the paved road - perhaps speed bumps, radar cops (Federal radar cops, that is), and other traffic "calming" devices are in order as well. On holiday's there should be sobriety check points set up to discourage imbibing and driving, and maybe even a "rest area" erected where we can pull over and take a pee in dignity, or use as a place to hang out in that big lonely desert.

Of course with improvements like these to the Mojave, and only after an extensive and costly study, conducted by the most highly regarded experts that the government can afford, to ensure it's regulations are complied with, additional enhancements can begin to pop up, like a Starbuck's for the desert visitor jonesin' for a double latte, or a Blockbuster Video for those of us who want to watch the new releases while "away from it all". Maybe a museum should be commissioned to show the occasional visitor the way the desert used to be in "the old days" before the road was paved and the toll booths added. Think of the jobs such a project will create, give 'em jobs and they'll work, and after work they'll need a place to sleep, so build 'em an affordable subsidized housing project to live in out there; complete with a free clinic, and a midnight basketball program.

Really, Deuce, there are allot of things that would make the world a better place if they were just "trucked away" lead paint, cheaply made tools, toasters that catch on fire, imported cars, disco music, microwaves and Rosie O'Donnell can all go and it wouldn't phase me a bit, but the NPS should spend more of it's time teaching its own people not to light fires in the wind than worrying about the 35 folks a week driving up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere just to answer a phone - just because it is there.

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
From: Tristan L.

I was just thinking about the Mojave Phone booth and was wondering. Could we buy part of the property around the phone booth (or in the area) and get them to install the booth right there? If we were to raise the funds through the net, we might be able to get a parcel of land in the area and put your booth (or get Pac Bell to put A booth) there? What do you think?

you would have to buy a lot of land. the easement for the telephone line has apparently expired. that's a lot of miles of land.

From: andrew m.
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000

What we need to do is have a wake for the phone booth, schedule it for the end of the summer (on the way to BM?) and get someone to rent a satellite phone. It's expensive as hell but it'd be cool to make calls from the spot formerly occupied by the Mojave Phone Booth.

you'll have to count us out. we can make mobile calls from anywhere. without the booth, we just can't get interested.

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
From: David N.
Subject: the once and ever Mojave phone . . .

I never called or visited the mojave pay phone when it was still in place, but have been dialing the phantom line for the last few days-- as far as I'm concerned, there's a very soothing futility to dialing a phone that you know no-one'll answer. It's a sort of early 21st Century zen excercise. I just got a busy signal a few minutes ago, which leasds me to believe that others are also supping on the zen vacuity of the nowhere phone.

When I was younger, I was a sort of Junior Phone Phreak-- utterly fascinated with the TelCo system. The busy signal indicates something a little more profound than just the fact that other's share the same spiritual excercise I do. That is the ring isn't a fake set up by PacBell to fool folks into thinking they're still calling somewhere. The line out to the now-vacant site of the booth is still live and has not been bumped off its switch (if I got a busy signal, it means that the switch is still processing calls into that number as though they must be managed for a single line phone-- if one call is coming in, the others must be waylaid witht a busy signal.) If you unplug all the phones in your house and then call your number (from a cellphone or something), you'll get a ring. If you get two cells and call your house with each (and don't have call waiting) you'll get a busy. This is how switches treat live lines. The thrust The mojave payphone is gone, but not dead.

I assume that PacBell has only removed the booth and phone, but hasn't pulled up the line (I'm assuming, for various logistical reasons, that the lines out to this phone were not above ground) because removing the booth serves their purpose (i.e. cutting downvon tourism) but removing the line is overkill (a lot of effort in the hot hot sun, considering that, with no phone attached, the line isn't going to do a damn thing.) Probably PacBell will kill the line altogether sometime soon, but for the time being. . . well, hope springs eternal in our breasts, and all that jazz.

What's this mean? It means that if you cruise on out to the site with a shovel and a lineman's handset (those fat, funky orange phones that telco techs have strapped to their belts) , you could still recieve calls. A lineman's handset is basically just a standard telephone with a set of alligator clips attached to the two leads (the "leads" are two thin little wires that, as a pair, comprise your the phoneline-- two leads per line. Most house [and many phones] these days are wired for two lines right off the bat. One line is a red lead and a green lead and the other is a black and a yellow. Mnemonic device so you don't cross your leads "Christams Bee".) Bear in mind that a payphone uses a different voltage than a regular household phone, so if you were going to build your own lineman's handset (a suitable merit-badge-earner for Brownies, Cub Scouts and bergeoning felons), there'd be a need to add some impedence-- but that's not a big deal (there are plenty of text docs out on the Net which give detailed instructions for such a simple little soldering job.) Am I suggesting any person out there might want to do such a thing? By no means! But wouldn't it be lovely if . . . Sorry for the extended rant-- I'm still fairly geeked about the phone, its significance and its loss. My condolensces.

thanks. (we do realize the line's still open. our point was that the honest thing for them to do would have been to shut off service to that number, so that people wouldn't keep calling.)

anyone got a lineman's handset ... ?

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Clarification on possible line status
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000

I wanted to clarify some of the points David N. brought up. Not to be a bringer of bad news, but just because there is a ringing or busy signal does not at all guarantee that the line is live at the Booth site. All phone lines leaving a Central Office (CO) must pass through what is known as an MDF (Main Distribution Frame.) This is a gigantic jumper board, and all the telco needs to do is remove the jumper for our number and... dead line. ) All a ringing/busy says is that the electronic switch in the C.O. (in this case in the town of Baker) has not been programmed to render our number "out of service."

(Incidentally, I am greatly curious as to the type of line conditioning that is in order for a 25-30 mile long phone line. On that subject, the thing I will miss the most about talking on the Phone is those little popping and pinging sounds which I understand are caused by distant lightning.)

Actually, a "butt set" (as those orange lineman's handsets are known in the industry) is not absolutely necessary. Any ordinary phone, a household phone jack and a couple of alligator clip leads (available at Radio Shack) are all that would be needed to test the line.

I agree with Doug H's humorous post - if the Booth is brought back as an "official historical attraction" of the Preserve it will be so sanitized and crowded that all of its former spirit will be gone.

From: Peter M.
Subject: The second comming of the booth
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000

Will there be any attempts to install a new booth from any of you? I would be happy to assist in the obtaining of permits for such a project. I live near San Bernardino.

it could happen. but not in the mojave national preserve, that's for sure!

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
From: ReindeR
Subject: tracing the reporting on the Mojave Phone Booth

I am trying to trace the reporting about the Mojave Phone Booth in the Netherlands. Yesterday an article in the national newspaper De Volkskrant appeared [and] it was mentioned [at] probably more sites.

My question when did NBC first report on it and on which day did you first mention it on your site?

nbc's first report was in september. the booth site has been up since 1997.
Isn't it interesting to trace how the snowball got running and how uncreative all media just copy each other's copy? So few are orginal. NBC made a good effort by going there with a helicopter. Wired with an interview.
not only do they just lamely copy, they just plain make stuff up. here's a message we sent to the washington times about an inaccurate article they printed:

Date: Fri, 26 May 2000
From: Deuce of Clubs
Subject: mojave phone booth

someone pointed out your article this afternoon. maybe we're just cranky from being misquoted and misrepresented for about the thousandth time, but we want to show you, if you care, how incorrect an article can be

"Recent months have seen a veritable parade of campers and Jeeps,"
NBC got the estimate of 25-30 per week. now, that could arguably be considered a parade in the mojave desert, sure, but it's not as overwhelming as the NPS would have you believe.
"There was the truckload of white rock, hauled out by fans who spelled out "PHONE" in 8-foot-wide letters so the booth could be spotted from space."
that was our doing (later undone by the NPS, even though it was not visible to anyone who wasn't in an airplane -- and only barely, even then). but we didn't haul in any truckload of white rock. it was already there. someone had dumped it who knows how long ago, and we just decided to rearrange it a little.
"There was the New Year's Eve party"
*definitely* not our doing. originally, a couple of us were going out there alone. that information was squeezed out of us by an unscrupulous LA Times reporter named john glionna, under the promise that it was "off the record." he lied. he printed it. that's why people showed up on new year's. (though fewer than twenty. or so we were told; we certainly didn't want to go if there were going to be bunches of people. thanks, john!)
"and the ton of volcanic cinder, brought by creatives intent upon an "earth art" project."
carrying volcanic cinder to the mojave would be like carrying coals to newcastle. we can't imagine anyone did that. there are piles of cinder sitting right in the vicinity of the booth. who on earth gave you that information?
"Litter, potential wilderness damage and, most alarming, we found an unattended campfire at the height of the fire season, by one of the biggest stands of Joshua trees in the country. We had to do something," said Dennis Schram, spokesman for the Mojave National Preserve.
according to those who live in the area, that is nothing but lies. no one has ever e-mailed us that they found trash around the booth. in fact, they often are amazed that they found it perfectly clean.
"an Internet e-zine called "Wig Out.""
a small point, perhaps, but wig out is not on the internet, and never has been.
"A star was born. The booth accumulated fans, including Arizona devotee Gottfried Danneels,"
not exactly. none of this happened until i short-sightedly put up a site about it. and even then, things were fine until the media got the story in its jaws and shook it to death.
"a feature film called "Deadline.""
actually, only a short (15-minute) independent film.
"a search is under way for an alternative — most of it organized on line. The booth pilgrims want to buy and install their own private phone booth at some remote location in California, at the cost of about $2,300. It is legal, they say, in every state but Connecticut, as long as they follow local land and utility ordinances."
you obviously read this on our site, but you fail to realize that the section to which you refer was posted in 1997, not in response to the current goings-on.

the piece you've written is a fluff piece, sure. but it's still important not to get things garbled. people seem to think that what they read in the newspaper is true -- yet nearly every story we have ever read that concerns events about which we happen to know something, has been wrong in the most basic ways.

maybe you don't care, and anyway, this catches us at a particularly bad time (we just spent an hour yesterday chewing on the ear of a very nice reporter from the LA Times, ranting about their earlier story). it just irks us that journalists on the whole don't bother to tell the truth. we hope you'll do better in the future.

From: ChuckRoz
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000

I also mourn the passing of the Phone Booth. My family and I visited it in January. As we drove up we heard the phone ringing and jumped out to answer it. We spent about 30 minutes there and talked to about 6 or 8 people. What a great experience.

It will certainly be missed.

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: Guy

I was scanning through the local paper when I stumbled upon an article mentioning that the phone booth has been removed. The headline said "Reality Check". That's what the media thinks of it. They think it's a joke. Little do they know!!!

yes. they do know little.

(and good luck with madonna, guy)

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
From: Lara Hartley

Hey, this isn't fair. We have never treated the phone booth as a joke, far from it. We broke the removal story and NOT as a joke - and the upcoming editorical against its removal is not a joke either.

Please don't lump ALL media together. If the one reference you read treated it as a joke, that is only one source. Look at the Brokaw piece. Not a joke. Nor have several other stories I have read.

Remember, without a free press we would all be living in a police state.

As for media coverage it works rather like this -

I run out to shoot the gone booth. Rush back to write story and get photos ready.

AP picks up my photos of the empty booth and story. They rewrite the story into a generic nothingness.

All of that hits the wire - both broadcast and print.

Brokaw's team sees the wire story. They pull my pics and story off and use it on their broadcast.

Other newspapers either rewrite the story after doing a bit of research or just run with the AP story - using again the photos that hit the wire first ( mine) or if they have the resources and the time they will send their own shooter.

That's the way it works most of the time.

Lara Hartley
Desert Dispatch
Barstow, CA

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: Craig W.
Subject: Spirit of the Phone

As an attendee of the New Year party at the phone booth, I am deeply saddened by the removal of the phone booth. We had planned another journey for this fall. We might still go just to piss of the NPS. How can 20-30 people a day

(actually, the report said 20-30 people a week)
have a "negative impact on the desert environment" when the Mojave National Preserve is over 1.4 million acres? If they could collect a fee from all the visitors, they would be installing phone booths every 10 miles.
we had heard that a plan was floated within the nps to pave the road to the booth as a way of drumming up interest in the preserve. which, in its own way, would have kinda sucked, too.
But, alas, the spirit of the phone booth lives on. Should you happen to live in an area where you can shop at a Von's supermarket, just use the phone booth number instead of your own phone number. "Pat Malone" will become the single largest shopper at Von's.
haha! that's a great idea. perhaps everyone should start giving 760.733.9969 as their phone number whenever it's demanded by nosy governments and corporations

From: Brian S.
Date Wed, 24 May 2000

Hi Deuce

I have just spent a whole goddam evening of my time fascinated to hell by the mojave phone booth website. I devoured everything and want more.

we have a huge backlog of booth stuff. therefore, though the booth is gone, the booth site will live on
I was horrified by the attitudes of the authorities concerned by the way.
ain't guv'mit grand?

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: trowbridge adam
Subject: ring...ring...ring

happy to see the phone booth project. sad to see it killed. would suggest that the death of the phone book has more to do with repression of "Whatever" than with danger of popularity. "Whatever" is the enemy of the state.

have to agree with that ... "Whatever" it means
anyway...thank you. i am happy a connection occured for you.

From: MT
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000

i read with great sadness the news of the removal of the phone booth on your web site. i would like to register my disapproval with the responsible parties. a phone call to them while symbolically appropriate is unlikely to be particularly effective form of protest. a phone call is too easily ignored and probably a long distance expense for most of the phone booth supporters. i suggest that you obtain and post the e-mail addresses of the people that should know our feelings. it's inexpensive and the volume can be quantified. as many people who knew of the phone booth by reading your web site, it seems appropriate to discuss it over the internet.

we'll see whether we can round those up. (anyone have those already?)

we do think e-mails are easier to ignore, though, and that the calls are having an effect

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
Subject: ObCompliment
From: Waldo J.

Your site's great. Nice to see funny and interesting content on the web. FYI, I found your site via the Wired story, like the rest of the world will today. )

From: babstoy
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000

Hello, So sorry to hear the BAD NEWS about the desert phone booth removal. Don't they know it was a PUBLIC PHONE?? I do have some good news though, I'm going to be in an alumni art show (whith my phone booth photos) at UNO (Omaha) in late September! BabsToy

From: Colin R.
Subject Mourning the passing of a phone booth in the middle of nowhere
Date Wed, 24 May 2000

I came across your Mojave Phone Booth site a while ago. I found it to be highly entertaining, because I love absurdity and doing absurd things, and REALLY love hearing about other people doing absurd things. I wrote down the phone number for the booth and called it from work a couple of times just to hear it ring, and then from at home, to be greeted by the same ringing. I actually got a busy signal that night. So, I relentlessly kept redialing until I heard ringing again. Finally Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring......nobody. The line had to have been busy because someone ELSE was listening to it ring! That was amusing enough. The next day, I called it again from my home. I got a busy signal again. OK, so I redialed again.....a person answered! I actually spoke to a guy who answered the Mojave Phone Booth! I have the conversation on tape....I feel so privileged. Well, that was great. But somehow I wanted to have a deeper relationship with the phone booth. A little while ago, my roommate and I decided to do something TOTALLY absurd sometime this summer, we would DRIVE, all the way from our home here in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, to the phone booth, call our other roommate from there, and then maybe hell around L.A. for a while before heading back home, if we had the time. Yes, that's right, we were ready to drive 36 hours straight, just to meet the phone booth. But now it's gone. I'm so stupid road trip to the middle of a desert I've never seen just to visit a phone booth.

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: Paul P.

Casebier is right--you have 'way too much time on your hands! -)

Of course, that means I'm envious as hell!

Also think it's a damn shame to lose the phone booth, but then, the feds and phones have never been long on brains.

Keep up the nutty stuff--you are hereby authorized to do my share, since I don't get to it enough -)

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: chris c
Subject: Crybabies

All that fuss over the removal of a phone booth? The crybabies who are lamenting its removal probably don't give a rat's ass over the environmental damage that the NPS was trying to prevent.

the NPS hasn't even been willing to give specifics of the "environmental damage" they are claiming.
Those who say that they haven't seen any damage have no idea how ecologically sensitive desert environments are. The lack of concern for the environmental effects makes me think that many of these crybabies are the same people who drive hug gas guzzling SUVs just because "its cool to have".
we have often made it clear that we were never big fans of the idea of hordes of people going out to the booth. the desert is a dangerous place, and, yes, a fragile place. the intention of our project originally was for people to phone the booth from wherever they were -- the interest being that it would be the rare, rare occasion when one might happen to catch someone wandering by. when that happened, it was really great. but people are going to do what they're going to do. if they want to visit public land, they have the right to do it. and these people were at least staying on established roads. if it were private land, that would be one thing. but this is supposedly "public" land that the NPS doesn't want the public visiting. who are the real crybabies here?

(nothing we say here should be construed as suppport for SUV-driving yuppie morons. we take second place to none in our disdain for them.)

While the booth may have been a cultural icon, lets move on with issues far more pressing. The NPS has enough problems with managing our national parks with issues such as insufficient funding, overcrowding, etc.
... deliberately setting New Mexico's largest ever wildfire ... yes, our federal land managers are busy, busy people!
Let's not add to them.
we would say the same thing about federal employees: let's not add to them.

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: chris c
Subject: Re Crybabies

I hear you on all your points and take them in kind. I was reacting to some of the messages posted on your site that I felt were probably as reactionary as I was.

The other way of looking at this issue is that people visiting to booth presumably paid an entrance fee that would help in the upkeep of the area. That could very well offset any potential damage that may occur.

thanks, chris

currently there is no fee, presumably because, contrary to their claim, the mojave national preserve is just that, and not yet a park. but it is said to be slated to become one, and the nps has plans (acc. to nbc) to attract visitors in a big way. strange, no?

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000

I pee on your phone booth whiny-suck call to action.
I turn to the west three times before I shit on the
remains of your filthy human phone booth, and twice more
on the disgusting bust of your dead fascist composer.
I howl in glee as the greedy miners cry out to call.
I howl in victory, for the humans can't call, can't receive
I howl, I'm so excited, I think I'll fuck the first cow
I see (that one over there) and then eat him raw. And again.
Get lost.


(congratulations, genius -- you sent that to the wrong website. luckily for you, they forwarded it along, so your brilliance can be seen and appreciated by all.)

(a pac-bell address, eh? hmm ... )

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: brett b.

i was calling to complain about the removal of the booth and after getting the run around at the natl. park office i finally got to talk to a guy that told me the whole story he said last week there was a huge unattended camp fire out there that they spotted. this being fire season and in the wake of the new mexico fires they ran out there and put it out he said there was allot of junk out there at this camp site and they stayed for over an hour cleaning it up and now one ever came back .

he said the removal of the booth was not evan close to the top of the list until this happened so they called pac bell and told them they had to do something immediately

they also reminded pac bell the there right of way expired 8 years ago and they were in violation and if they can prove the necessity for the booth they need to re-apply for the right of way and pay them for the last 8 years that pac bell has not been paying for. so pac bell removed it the next day .

i should have got the guys name if you call and ask to talk to mary martin she is out of town but then ask for her assistant that is the guy


wait .. "careless fire starters?" maybe they didn't come back because they rushed off to get jobs with the u.s. forest service in los alamos ...

Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
From: Amanda

The large campfires were not just fires set in the desert. There were two fire rings built with pretty good size rocks in a barren area and no fires just on the ground. And as for unattended - who really knows?

From: Barney C.
Subject: International Heartache
Date Wed, 24 May 2000

I'm a Candian living in England and just found out about the Booth today. My English workmates are appauled and my friends and family in Canada are also dissapointed. It really is a sensational story. I hope you get the Booth back to it's home and everyone who has heard about it forgets what they know. Perfect world.

Very strange experience but it has made my day. Now I'm going to write some letters. International protest may add some power to the cause!

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000
From: dr. cliff
Subject: fucking phone booth

i think deserves a round of applause for singlehandedly CREATING and DESTROYING a cultural icon. anyone can do one or the other, but who can do BOTH, to the same icon no less?

you know, for skinny bald white guys who wear leotards around the house, they're not so bad.

kudos to you, motherscratchers.

yeah, fuck that stinky ol' booth anyway.

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000
From: Candi S.

How heartbreaking! I guess that explains the weird little Mojave Desert Phone Booth experience I had over the weekend. We were downtown Saturday at this place called the Metreon -- sort of an indoor mall with theaters, restaurants, and stores that are more promotional venues than stores. A Microsoft store, a Discovery Channel store, a Sony Style store. Being longtime Sony geeks, we're in there checking out the robot dogs and other new products, including ultra-small TV sets. The place is all noisy with Dolby/THX sound from the home theater tv displays, so you can't hear anything from these small tv sets, even if you pull them out by their leashes (they're chained down by metal cables so people don't pocket them) and hold them up to your ear. I glance at the smallest small tv, with a screen about two inches wide, and there's -- the Mojave Desert Phone Booth! I grab the tv and pull it up close to my eyes so I can squint at it (I'm on the verge of needing bifocals), thinking -- hey, maybe Deuce of Clubs is going to be on the air!! I'm trying frantically to focus and interpret the image I'm seeing, but it's an LCD screen with all the weirdness that entails -- the image seems to change in this weird, slow, underwater way I'm not used to. I'm actually shaking the darn thing, as if that will bring the image swimming into focus. (As if the TV was a Magic 8-Ball and shaking it would bring the desired message up to the little window.) There are momentary scenes of the desert, the booth, of a handful of people standing around the booth -- but a few seconds later the phone booth shots are replaced by a commercial. I haven't even been watching a news feature, just a teaser for a news feature that will be on the news later. (Local? National? I'm not even sure.) Maybe fifteen surreal seconds, and it's over, and I'm standing there in the noisy store gawping ...


Date: 23 May 00

I never thought this would happen. It saddens me that a few people can make these type of decisions. I always thought that the idea behind the National Park System was that they are there for us to enjoy. If the Park Service felt that they had to remove the "booth" because it was bringing too much traffic out to its location, does this mean other things are going to disappear?

you mean things such as mines, miners, cattle, burros, telephone poles, &c.?

then, yes.

I feel sorry for the International callers as the ones that I talked were thrilled to talk to some at the booth. Now it will just ring, somewhere, and not be answered. Thanks for all that you did for the booth. It is a treasured memory.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Brokaw may save the Booth yet!
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000

The Tom Brokaw piece was great, and so was its timing. It appears that Brokaw is a big fan of the booth and we can count on him for media attention, be it for better or worse. At least the cat is really out of the bag now and maybe enough public outcry will follow that the NPS and/or Pac Bell will rethink their short-sighted decision.

Brokaw mentioned a piece "earlier this spring" - I must have missed it. Was it much different than last fall's piece?

not really. both were very well-done and sympathetic.
here's the previous one and tonight's
I've sent my first volley of letters. You probably have these addresses/phone #'s but since I have them all together in one file I'm including them:

Congressman Jerry Lewis
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Mary Martin, Superintendent
Mojave National Preserve
222 E. Main Street, Suite 202
Barstow, CA 92311
Robert Stanton
National Park Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Phone (202) 208-6843
John Reynolds
Regional Director
National Park Service
600 Harrison St. Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 427-1300
George Turnbull, Superintendent
National Park Service
Pacific Great Basin Support Office
600 Harrison Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94107-1372

From: Kaino (from aol)
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 220037 EDT


here's the part you're not getting: pac-bell owns the easement for that phone line. other companies can do nothing. and even that line is slated to come down, apparently. so ... no other company can help. only pac-bell.

From: Kaino (from aol)
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
Subject: mojave phone booth number change suggestion

What if another company connect it but move the phone near it, just had a different number? They could have it almost at the exact spot and then it would be a different number. And they would own it would they now

you're not understanding this. remember what we told you about the easement? the nps doesn't have to let *any* company put a phone in there. the easement is no more.

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000
From: Mike R.

It should be put in the Smithsonian Museum in Wash. DC

From: Jeremiah
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 202409 GMT

Y'know, I never saw it. Drove out there to leave invitations for my show and took the harder route. My pickup wouldn't make it up one of the hills, started to walk it and turned back after a mile or so, not wanting to be out there in the dark...

So strange. I was talking to Kaarina (the young woman making the documentary about the booth) about how the phenomenon would probably fade away. I guess not.

Thank you. I understand your ambivalence about the phenomenon you spawned, but I think for the last year this has been a special, strange thing, a blip with more symbolic and symptomatic meaning than anyone can know.

In sympathy,

From: Marc from Michigan
Subject: A sad, sad day
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000

It's hard to believe that the NPS is using our tax dollars to finance equipment and personnel to do things such as remove a harmless remote phone booth. And what a mess they left! Do they really think that the Preserve is better off now that there are simply cinder blocks, a concrete pad, and a cut wire there for all passers-by to enjoy? Apparently they figured people visiting the Booth was just mayhem, and not reasonable mayhem. I was hoping that when my kids grow older our family could tour the western US, and swing by the Phone Booth to make a novel phone call home from the middle of nowhere, and even answer it, should it ring. Sigh. Of course, the NPS created a new "middle of nowhere" by burning away Los Alamos, so I guess we could look around for a phone booth there. Perhaps that's where they moved the Phone Booth, like for an emergency hotline or something. Anyway, in the photo on your site, I looked and looked but couldn't find Wagner there mourning the loss. Where was he?

hiding his face in sorrow
Without your site, I would never have been aware of this wonderful piece of American history.

Thank you, and best regards,
Marc from Michigan

From: Yma
Subject: Famous Isolated Phone Booth Removed Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 091304 -0700

Are you sad, or relieved?

both ... but we couldn't give you a percentage breakdown ...

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000
From: Bethany
Subject wake

I just learned about the booth, chris was listening to npr and they were talking about it and you, so he called me. I didn't check email this weekend so I'm a little slow on the uptake but what the FUCK?!?! "negative environmental impact" is what the reason was? my ass. I was gonnn call you but I think I trashed your phone number, I can't find it anywhere. I think there should be a wake for the booth. we can bring cel phones to sacrifice. that's SO lame... I'm bummed I never got to go to it.

From: shannon m.
Subject: booth misery
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000

I'm very sorry to hear about the booth - especially since we contributed to it. Let me know if there's anything we can do.

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000
From: Andrea K.
Subject *gasp*

Hi! You may or may not already know this, but you were mentioned on National Public Radio (by name!) this morning. According to NPR, if it weren't for you meddling kids and your website and then ensuing publicity and 'negative environmental impact,' that sad little phone booth might still be standing. They interviewed Sharon Domingo; I was very sad that you didn't get equal time.

Anyhoo. :)

(they tried to contact us, but it was too late in the day)

From: Kimmo
Subject: Mojave Phone Booth is a STAR
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000


Just wanted to drop a thank-you message for publishing great story on the Internet!

I'm read all about the Mojave Phone Booth incident and I must admit that I loved it.

Tears filled my eyes to finally understand that the Booth is totally gone.

Oh, one more thing; I'm from Finland, and *IF* I happened to see this thing some time earlier, I would be calling that number... ;-)

Next summer, I am planning to take a vacation at the United States and there are very good possibilities to take a look at the sacred place in that certain desert.

How about... some kind of obituaries at the location? I think the Booth deserves it! All kinds of messages, flowers, and personal belongings dedicated to the memory of the Booth?

the parks service would just take them all down -- if the wind didn't take them away, first. and then they'd just litter the mojave ...
If I happen to come to US, what are the possibilities to have a pic with Wagner? *grin*
quite possible

From: Phil G.
Subject: Phone Booth equals Bad element?
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000

On the 16th of April, my girlfriend and I took my folks (both in their 70's) to the booth. We met a bunch of people there ranging from a young family with their children, a couple doing some time-lapsed videography for a graduate degree, to a group with a girl that had hair color that I don't think was her natural color. I think it was pink or green or something else just as cool.

My Mom had heard me talk about the booth since I first came upon it in the late '70s, and was really surprised when we pulled up to it. They thought we were just going for a ride in the desert. When we got out of the truck, the people that were already there greeted us as we were old friends. In fact, I later found out my parents thought that I knew some of the people by the way they greeted us.

We talked for a short while, then had a picnic lunch (ham sandwiches, if I remember correctly). The young family had called before they left civilization, and asked if the people who were already at the booth if they wanted him to deliver some pizza. So when he arrived he had two thing to explain. One, that he had got lost (Now that takes a real man!), and two, because he had got lost, he got hungry. Thus only one of the two pizzas made it, but all seemed very happy to chomp on some good cold pizza. Oh yea, when he was offered a few bucks to cover the cost of the pizza, he would not accept any reimbursement.

After we all had a chance to spread some good will to the people calling from all over the world, it was time for us to leave. I had brought a bunch of small packages of carrots, and handed them out to everybody. They were all very appreciated, and enjoyed some fresh vegi's out in the middle of the desert. We all said good bye and headed "down the dusty trail".

When my folks got back from the trip, they told their friends about it, and have been talking about it since.

I called the booth a week later, and spoke the young lady with the cool hair. Sorry about the reference, but I don't have any names. When it came to explaining who I was, all I said was I was the guy with the carrots, and she know just who I was. I really don't want to be remembered as the carrot guy. I guess I should have brought something cool like shrimp etouffee'.

I called then about an hour ago and told them the news. My Mom's comment was something close to "Don't those people (the NPS) have anything else better to do?" and she made a few comments about the nice people we met. My Dad's comment was that he was glad he glad he had a chance to see it before they hauled it away, and that it was a trip they would never forget.

I am glad that this kind of short sided vision was not present when other landmarks were noted by the NPS. If any of you have had a chance to visit Bill Key's ranch in Joshua Tree National Park, you will know what I mean. It's a ranch that was built in the '40s and has been "locked in time". I guess the NPS could have said it's just a bunch of old broken down building and taken a bulldozer to the whole bunch. I hope the NPS will re-think their decision, and bring back a functioning piece of the history of the great Mojave Desert.

I'll keep calling, writing and e-mailing to bring this further out in the open, and hope you will too.

One last thing, before we left we took a group photo. In it you see ages ranging from 7 to 70, and the diversity that has been the makeup of your western society for well over the past hundred years. When I get it back from the developer I'll scan it and send it in.

"Truth will ultimately prevail when there are pains taken to bring it to light" George Washington

Date: Mon, 22 May 2000
From: Mistress Carrie

Why did Mary lie to everyone about the booth being removed? Why did they do it? REALLY?

when it comes to politicians and bureaucracies, "Why?" is a question hardly worth asking ...

From: Robin
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000
Subject: NOT surprising!

Well It looks like you really have the whole scoop on the disappearing phone booth. Thanks you for putting the truth out there. I was wondering how long it would take the NPS to get their dirty little fingers around Pac Bell. It is sad (again) to realize that even an old company like Pac Bell can be brainwashed. Really there is no excuse for the buckling under that Pac Bell has done. They admit to having an agreement with the National Parks Service (aka Mary Martin) to close down the phone booth for enviromental concerns. I was out there visiting my mother at the mine about a month or so ago. Of course we all stopped by the phone booth to have some fun. At that time I have to admit I was very impressed at how clean and untarnished the area was for being so poplular. The only roads that appeared to be used were the already existing ones. There was no trash or debris, no trampled plants, no broken glass. It looked like it did when I was a kid (That was when I used to go visit my Grandma and Grandpa 30 something years ago, when they were living at and running their Cima Cinder Mine). It looks to me like the people who have taken the time to visit the booth were very aware of keeping things in order. I truely believe that most of us don't want to see the earth or the enviroment destroyed but the NPS seems to think that we need to be baby sat. Really do we need the government to be our keeper? ( I vote NO, oh, I forgot, we didn't get to vote on this, OOPS!, silly me. My vote would be over-turned by a 'special interest' group anyways).

It has been a great pleasure corresponding with you. I take my hat off to you and your efforts to do what is right.

In friendship,

Date: Mon, 22 May 2000
From: edith
Subject sadsadsad.

I don't get it. What a bunch of small-minded, humorless idiots.

It had NOT been overrun with tourists - I went out there twice in early April and both times it was still and beautiful. There wasn't any garbage, and the graffiti on the booth was happy and interesting.

At this point it's too sad - if the booth came back it would be different and cheesy, and if they paved the road it would ruin it altogether - it's like the tram to Machu Picchu.

But I did notice a sign talking about the 4th of July party - part of me wishes that this would still happen and that the partygoers would call that Mary-person non-stop all day long...


From: elaina m.
Date Mon, 22 May 2000

I kept putting off ringing the booth and now it looks like I'll never get the chance.
Are there really no bigger problems in the USA for the authorities to spend their time on? LOL

From: Sharron D.
Date Mon, 22 May 2000

I got permission to forward this to you. Hope you are well and happy. It was great talking to you recently.I think Lorene has brought you up to date. I got a note from Carrie of WAAF Radio in Boston. She said her listeners are furious. She also said that Craig (director of the documentary done out by the booth) was planning a trip there to see what more he can find out. I hope we can get to the bottom of this and see why the Dept. of the Interior would make a preserve "for the people" and then not allow people to go there and enjoy it. Says a lot for our basic freedoms, NPS-style. I think the booth was removed because it represents the people helping to fight the injustice of the mine closure and they don't want any more attention drawn to the plight. On KFI Sat. morning a friend told me that they made it sound like people were trashing the area around the booth. When I was out there I didn't see any of that. Excuses,excuses. Well, take care, keep in touch and keep up the good work,

Love ya,

From: David F.
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000

Anyway, after we were there about an hour, I could see what looked like a truck moseying towards us from the north. As it got closer, I could definitely recognize the sound of a Cummins diesel engine ( it's a guy thing, my wife says ). Sure enough, a big Dodge pickup pulls up and this nice lady wearing a phone booth shirt and hat gets out and says "Hi how's it going?" I introduced my wife and I and she said her name was Lorene and the guy driving was her husband Terry. (I don't remember the name of their puppy, though, maybe "Bud?") I couldn't believe it! I actually got to meet Lorene and Terry! They took the attached picture of us. We talked for probably more than half an hour and they told us the whole story of the mine and how it was shut down. It was really sad to hear it first hand and actually meet the people in the story. I sure hope things are looking up for you guys, and you will soon be able to reopen your mine for business.

I read a story in the paper the other day about a gold mine in northwestern Nevada. They are allowing them to pour cyanide over piles of tailings to leach more gold from them. It is a small mine, about 800 acres, but cyanide leaching into the ground anywhere can't be good. I don't understand why a mine using obviously toxic means is allowed to continue operating, but a small 700 acre mine hurting no one with little, if any, environmental impact is shut down.

Lorene said they are trying to establish a fund to assist with legal expenses. It sounded like a difficult process. Lots of red tape. Would you do us a favor and let us know how it is proceeding? We would like to do what we can.

Hope you are back in business soon,

Cindi and Dave

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000
From: Mr. Peanut


I got wind of the closure of the Phone Booth, and from what the little segment said, the National Park Service is concerned with "increased traffic" in that area (it's not as if cars are lined up to stop at the Phone Booth and there IS a dirt road leading out there; people aren't exactly driving through virgin desert). Maybe you can encourage people to keep on going out to that area regardless, just so that the "traffic concerns" are realized anyway. The bastards.

From: dj 'tine
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000
Subject: now what??!

no phone booth.. the rock splits.. what next??!!!


dj 'tine

that's the least of it right now, if you can believe it ...

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000
From: Slimette
Subject: only in america, huh?

well, it's great to know the government is busy Looking Out For Our Best Interests. those phone booths, you gotta watch 'em, or next thing you know - anarchy!

this country sucks.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Ticked!!
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000

I am really ticked. This was SO uncalled-for, especially since the "media whoredom" (as you put it) has begun to die down and things have been getting slowly back to normal in this corner of the Mojave Desert.

What harm in the world could the Booth's presence have been causing? I would think the NPS would be more concerned about hundreds of cattle trampling the desert than a handful of people going out on established roads to camp out and answer this amazing phone.

they're also getting rid of the cattle. and the burros.
The NPS is (supposed to be) concerned with preserving historical artifacts of the lands they control. Well, the Phone Booth (and connecting wires) is definitely a part of the history of this area and should be protected, not removed. That is another point that should be made when contacting authorities regarding the removal.

I'll bet they did it now rather than last year because now it's out of the big spotlight and its absence won't attract as much attention. Let's prove them wrong!!

I was curious as to the comment made a few months ago in your mailbag by someone who had been told by an NPS ranger that the Preserve supported the Booth's existence, welcomed the publicity and was not going to change anything. I wonder what happened?

maybe that was just some random ranger's opinion
I had been looking forward to calling the Booth during the hot time of the year to see who's out there braving it... or better yet visiting it... but now unless somebody's at the Anti-Phone Booth that won't happen. (is the A.P.B. still operating by the way?) I guess I could ring a payphone at Death Valley's Furnace Creek but that would never be the same.

I guess it's time to establish a phone booth on BLM land so the NPS doesn't have a chance to goof things up! (Of course all the NPS would do is declare that area a preserve and take that booth out.)

I will be contacting the appropriate bureaucrats about this.

From: Desert Tripper
Subject: Letter about the Booth
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000

Here is a 'rough draft' of what I am going to send to the appropriate officials. I hope someone will realize what the NPS is taking away from the world...

A side thought - wouldn't it be great if the Booth's number were somehow "call-forwarded" to Mary Martin's number?! (LOL)

Dear (Congressman Lewis, Senator Feinstein, Mary Martin, Bruce Babbitt, etc.)

I recently heard that the famous phone booth in the Mojave National Preserve has been removed at the direction of the National Park Service. This disturbing move was completely uncalled-for as far as I can tell, because the impact on the desert in the area of the booth was negligible. Indeed, I heard through the grapevine that some park rangers actually welcomed the booth as a source of publicity for the Preserve.

I am also deeply concerned about the NPS' apparent nonrecognition of the phone booth as an historic artifact of the area in which it was situated. For many years before the booth gained attention as a worldwide attraction, it was a vital communications link between area miners and the outside world. Removing it at this point is akin to bulldozing an old mine tunnel or shack, taking away an area institution that should be there for the enjoyment and edification of all visitors. Instead of removing it, the NPS should preserve it and place an interpretive marker next to it explaining its history!

I have had the opportunity to visit and answer this phone booth on two different occasions, and neither time did I see anything that would be construed as destructive to the desert or harmful to any person. I left the site both times feeling that I had somehow reached out to the world and brightened some people's lives. I am saddened that this unique experience is no longer accessible to anyone.

I feel that the removal of the phone booth was a great mistake by the NPS, and implore that you do everything in your power to see that this peculiar and unique instrument is replaced on its concrete pad, put back in service, and allowed to continue its mission.

Thank you for your time and attention.

From: SunnyFox
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000

I'm PISSED!!!!!!!!!!!! Is there ANY way to get our little phone friend back? I miss it!!! I was so sad to hear about it---I am going out to Vegas next week and kinda' wanted to stop and visit the booth----shit!---and now this! Too late, damnit! If enough people bitch, could it be reinstalled? Anyway, just wanted to voice my concerns. It's kinda' sad to think nothing is out there any more... I talked to some people at 100 a.m. one night who were camping out there---what's the big deal about a little piece of the desert? Damn government always has to come along and screw up a good thing. I'll keep watching your website to see if anything happens, meanwhile, maybe I'll be making a few phonecalls to some of those "wonderful" people who's phone numbers you listed... Hmmmm......... Maybe if we can get enough people all over the world to annoy these bastards, they'll put it back just to shut us all the hell up and stop wasting their time!

Hey--maybe we should all go out there and start a memorial shrine to the booth at the place where they ripped it out---screw-em! We could go out and build a monument or just leave booth-orientated stuff at the site just to make 'em crazy, and to remember our friend. They may have removed our buddy, but at least we'd still be out there annoying them. Do you have a list of names of people to forward this idea to? There must be a lot of people out there who are booth fans. Maybe if we could get enough of us to do this from all over the world, it would send a statement to Ma Bell and all the government A-holes. HELP!!!!

no, no, no. that would only justify the nps claim of the "environmental impact" of the booth. they'd just close off the road or do some other damnfool thing. and they'd keep the area picked clean, as they did when the booth was there.

the best thing to do is keep phoning the nps

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000
From: Cody

i was talking to charles wilcox at a cafe were his girlfriend works. he went out there yesterday and a film crew was camping out and taking pictures and they were trying to find out where they hid the booth he also said they just cut the wire and left it on the ground to short out

i wonder whether a phone could be hooked up to it ... cos i don't think pac-bell actually cut service to the number ... hmmm ...
he did not say who they were he said they were camping out asking questions he also said the desert dispatch newspaper had a story on it. he also said they took the booth out wed. but he did not find out till fri. night and he was upset he said that he has talked to people all over the world on that phone.

i also spoke to his daughter in law she told me that when she was 9 or 10 her dad and her would be out in the desert and they would go to the booth to call home to let her mom know they were ok.. and on the way home.

i just found out about the booth and was planning on taking my family out there today when this tragedy happened charles wilcox said he will still show me where the booth was he also said they are running him of the land he lives on.

i have a thing for phones i know that pay phones take a special tone to dial out but i dont know about incoming calls keep us posted i will be calling every one on this we all need to call tom brokaw thanks....

From: Michael J.
Subject: Do not understand
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000

I can't figure the the parks service out.They encourage people to go out there and explore this preserve and to enjoy it and then, they take away one of the things that has drawn people out there.I went out there in November and had the time of my life answering the phone,but I found myself really enjoying the beauty of desert.I was planning another trip out there to explore the desert more fully.The ones who are responsible for this, are brain dead morons.If I am not mistaken, are there not other phones out there?When I look on the map of the preserve I see several phones out there.Could you not post one those numbers to get back at them,

there is another payphone out there, but it's right across from some houses, and it wouldn't be right to bother those people
or even post a phone number from a phonebooth in a popular national park?There is also a website for the Mojave National Preserve, in which people can e-mail to register there complaints.
persons who wish to speak to the person responsible for this debacle can call Mary Martin, 760.255.8803.
Are you you going to start another project on a phonebooth some where else?
Thanks for all the work that you have put forth on this site.I really have enjoyed it.
de nada

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000
From: Vickie D.

Well, if that don't beat seems to me that the NPS and other gov. orgs. are killing two birds with one stone...make it harder for the miners and ranchers to make phone calls and thus pressure them into seeing the hopelessness and help quiet down all the press the phone booth got. Sometimes, the gov. can really piss you off. :(

(or most of the time! such as today, when a census taker knocked on the door for the EIGHTH TIME THIS WEEK! sheez, take a hint, dimwit.)
This does not bode well for the entire area.
nope. they're running all the people off the preserve -- people who have lived there for years & years & were there before the stupid government was.
And just think, all the stink over a little phone booth. But, perhaps the phone booth represented so much more and that is why we must mourn the passing. It's like when all the unusual and funky is taken out of America we lose a little bit of what makes America America and we become a caricature of all that we once were.
The founding Fathers would be ashamed of our country.
couldn't agree more. what would the founders say to some nosy census taker who demanded to know about their privies? would they simply point to the word "Enumeration" in the constitution? or would they load up their muskets?
Things like this continue to widen the chasm that we must jump to reach our freedom....oh this is a rant,
but the best kind of rant!
but it's late and this is not good news to get when one is tired...

Where are our revolutionaries????

present and accounted for! (well, this one, at least)
Ah, the brain needs a rest. Adieu.


From: Robert M.
Subject: Good-bye Booth
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

Was stunned to hear today that the phone booth is gone. I guess if the NPS can't burn down the West they'll find some other way to piss people off.

their competence is truly awe-inspiring, isn't it?
I am working on an article for the Fall issue of Route 66 Magazine - we were there on April the 10th and it was a blast. The article will go ahead with a few pointed comments about the NPS.

One of my big concerns - who's going to say HI to the cattle now?

the nps plan is to remove all cattle from the preserve. and the donkeys, too. (that's after they finish running all the humans out of it)
Oh well, it was great while it lasted, and the fact the booth is gone means it will never be put back.

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Cynthia (Wig)

this is sad, sad, sad. is that there the welcome mat left behind?

looks like it, doesn't it? not sure it's yours; there have been several left behind
i will make some phone calls. hm, heard there was a big mojave land acquisition by the park system.
yep. they're grabbing up all the ranches. they're even gonna rip out the entire length of phone line & remove all the poles. (after they're done removing the few remaining ranchers & miners ...
is this lorene related? is this all related?
probably. the nps hates everything fun.
in sadness,

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

Hi guys,

Again, a grass roots wave of people uniting is destroyed by our wonderful Federal Government. A good definition of evil is to separate. Way to go Pac Bell and The Forest service!

From: Rob C.
Date Sat, 20 May 2000

Ah Crap.

That sucks. I thought that thing was going to be around for a long time.

we thought so, too, before all the piling-on
I can't believe how much press attention you have recieved in last year or so. Did it actually snowball by itself or are you a closet Marketing Genius?
it snowballed. after the first burst, it was pretty much out of control
Nice mailbag, by the way! I think if I got 140 letters in 8 days I would shit my pants.

Well damn. Now what the hell are you going to do?

(as if we don't already have *enough* projects, ha!)
I am 86% sure that the booth is never coming back. Some people just cannot understand the value of a landmark. You are absolutely right about the park rangers not wanting to attract any attention/visitors. Total ripoff, just like blackrock (note how I compare two situations I know very little about).
and deftly done, sir!
Luckily the strength of the whole adventure is your ability to write a story.
kind of you to say so
You just need another ripe subject.
we're at work on a super-secret subject/project. shhhhhh!
You could probably find another phone booth..have you ever tried that?
you know there's one right here in the living room, right?
I know it won't be the same, but maybe there is a good one out there waiting for you...perhaps in front of an old diner or liquor store.
we are at work now trying to find out where they've taken the mojave phone booth, for purposes of rescue/procurement
Man, I feel sorry for whoever gets that phone booth number next.
ha! yeah, really!

love how pac-bell didn't put a "this number has been disconnected or is no longer in service" message on the booth number. they still let the number have a phantom ring, so that people think it's still connected.

Hope other things are offsetting your recent loss.
nope. unfortunately, the booth is the least of our worries right now ...

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Jerry H.

Thanks for the up date on the Booth, what a crock!! What else is our government going to take away from us? I am really disappointed because i had planed on a visit to the booth this summer. But i guess that's gone now. What will the few people that live out there that use it do?

the NPS is driving the few residents out of the area.

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Andria
Subject: noBooth

It's almost too depressing to look at.

They either held (or are planning to hold) a huge bonfire where all of the rangers dance around the burning booth...

Or (and I'm so serious here) they'll sell it on eBay.

You need to find it. It's your booth.

I'm poking around the PacBell site looking for press releases right now...

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: teutonic groove machine

dude! and i never got around to actually calling the damn thing. i'm crushed.

From: Peter L.
Subject: My note to the NPS
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

This is war and it's time to drop some E-mail on the Park Service.

From: Peter L.
Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2000 1014 AM
Subject: Mojave Phone

I just heard the sad news that the park took out the Phone Booth.

I just wanted to let you know what the booth did for my family. Because of me wanting to see what this booth was all about, I loaded up my wife and two boys ages three and six and set off to take a few phone calls. After finding the phone and meeting some other folks from around the country at the booth we took off to explore the desert. We must have drove 100 miles of dirt roads that day. We found some great camp grounds at Mid hills in the Providence Mountains, we tried to see the Mitchell Caverns but we arrived too late, but we did climb a few of the Kelso dunes that day.

What I am trying to say is that because of the Phone booth my family found a new part of America and my boys will have these memories of the trip for a life time.

I was looking forward to doing it all again this fall.


Peter L.

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Pete F.

Jeez...isn't that the icing on the screwed up cake ? figures though...people continue to SUCK.

Time to move on to other finds......just don't tell anyone anymore.

From: Bob H.
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

So buy another one and put it back.

they would only remove it. and you can't just tap into the phone wires -- not for long, anyway ...

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Kathy

Isn't this, in some warped sense, a sign you succeeded?

hrmm ... explain?
in bringing something to mass attention -- so much so that the Powers That Be were forced to do something about it?
ah. well, for us it's been a (much-unneeded) lesson in human stupidity
No doubt. I'm sorry to learn how this worked out...but somehow, it's not terribly surprising.

From: Mark
Date Sat, 20 May 2000

Damn those fools!

If it's any consolation, you had a good idea. You followed your muse and visited the booth and told us about it. It's just too bad no one else thought to do that, they just followed YOUR muse (it's easier that way, takes less time!) !

Obviously, I don't blame you, just the fools who tore the shit out of everything to get there or tried to go when they shouldn't have!

Even my normally happy tabby is looking down!

I hope you can get the july 99 story put up soon so we'll have another remembrance of happier times to check out.

we need to get moving on that, yep. a sad task, at this point.

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Rex

Sorry to hear this. I've been wondering about the phone/pole I photographed on the Z-Bar ranch in south-central Kansas since I heard Ted Turner bought it and some other ranches down there. It didn't work the day I photographed it and submitted it to Mark Thomas, but it was a landmark in that area and had been for many years.

From: romeo
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

I can't believe it's gone. I can't explain why it appealed to me the way it did. I'm not sure many people can. It's just a phone booth in a weird location. It had SOMETHING though. Something about it was almost mysterious.

I never got to visit it, but I had always hoped to. I had called a few times and got no answer. I always figured that someday, somehow, that I would make my connection. It only goes to show us that life is short and when opportunity calls we must answer.

Are there any plans on future visits to the site? I think some kind of memorial is in order. Something that shows that THIS was a place of historic importance.

the parks service removes EVERYTHING. so it wouldn't do much good.
It's not signifigant in any 'political' terms, but it definately fits Webster's desciption (not Emmanual Lewis although I'm sure he would think it's cool too)

dating from or preserved from a past time or culture

Viva Americana!

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: Joe A.

Ah, this would be the same PacBell that allowed AT&T to slam my ISDN line with an extra $18.20 last month for long distance access...ya need that on a local data line, y'know...

Date: Fri, 19 May 2000
From: Laura

Is there any visual confirmation that the booth is gone?

Anyway, here the semi-official word.... according to Pacbell repair, the phone booth is still in action as far as the phone company knows. Pacbell has no report of it being ordered removed or shut off or anything. If the booth is physically not at it's usual, well known, location at "Cinder Peak", then said removal is considered VANDALISM! The Nat'l Park Service may not remove the booth because it is private property and belongs to Pacific Bell. If the rangers or anyone else has taken it upon themselves to remove the booth then they will possibly be arrested for vandalism or they will have to put it back.
someone at pac-bell is either misinformed or telling stories, because pac-bell put out a press release about the removal.
If there is damage to the phone, then it may be a while before Pacbell sends someone out to service it or check on it. At this time, it is still ringing and as far as PacBell knows is in working order or it would not ring as it did when I call it 15 minutes ago.
disingenuously, pac-bell has not put a "this number has been disconnected or is no longer in service" message on the phone booth's number, so that people will still think they're ringing the booth.

From: Michelle S.
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000

I am very sad...very sad. There is another lonely phone booth in your future I feel, so don't sweat it.

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000
From: liz c

very very sad

i can't believe they just TOOK it! they should have at least sold it to you

yeah. YEAH!

From Kelley
Date Fri, 19 May 2000

Our local news station-NBC-channel 17 had a piece on the booth last night. Apparently it's still there.

never believe a megagigantic news outlet (see the home page)
We have been planning to go there ever since last fall. We need directions to the site. We have camped many times in the East Mojave Recreation District (now closed off, thanks to Ms. Finestien). I have tried to call, with no answer. The news did say that the Park Service may take it out. (Heaven forbid that any citizen could use the Park area!)

Date: Thu, 18 May 2000
From: aristeia

well. it was inevitable, i guess.

poor phone booth. it didn't ask for this. it thought it had found a compassionate patron. it didn't know how many fucktards there are on the internet.

oh well.

From: babs
Subject: phone cold theft
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000

how do you know it is gone?

i talked to lorene yesterday. her brother was visiting the other day, and he & his wife stopped on the way to the mine to answer the phone. some guy from england. anyway, on their way back out from the mine, they saw that the booth was gone.
you think maybe some phreaks stole it?
it's possible, certainly. (we're keeping an eye cocked toward e-bay)
i don't know why the park rangers or whatever would take it.
because they hate it. also, we got an anonymous tip a month or so ago that this would happen -- maybe someone within the nps, who knows?
none the less, bummer. you should issue a press release (under a different name with press releasing credentials) asking anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of the booth to come forward for a reward. you know how desperate local news (?!?) programs are for stories (...and now breaking news, someone somewhere totally irrelevant to you just found an extra charge on her phone bill...)
they would probably love to get a fax from some "organization" that claims to be a phone booth historical society or some shit asking for help in locating their missing "artifact". i double-dog, no i triple-dog dare you.
well, the last thing the booth needs is more publicity -- that's why it disappeared in the first place!

next thing, you'll have people leaving flowers, rosaries, and dolls next to the phone pole, like at oklahoma city or columbine ...

Date: Thu, 18 May 2000
Subject: Mojave phone booth
From: Matt H.

I called the Mojave phone booth a couple of weeks ago. I try it every once in a while. This was a Tuesday night at about three in the morning.

Somebody answered.

I didn't know what to do.

So I grabbed a CD and played "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band over the phone. the whole song. three minutes and thirty four seconds.

When it was over, the guy was still on the line. "Hello?" he said. I hung up.

I thought it would be a nice surreal moment of weirdness and make a good story for him to tell later.


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