At one time, there was a phone booth located about fifteen miles off of Interstate 15, in the Mojave Desert. Installed in the 1960s to provide for miners digging for volcanic ash (used to make cinderblocks, roadbeds, and other similar products), the phone was removed in May 2000 by Pacific Bell, apparently at the urging of the United States National Park Service. Unfortunately, this was the only phone service available to Terry and Lorene Caffee, owners of the nearby Cima Cinder Mine.
Pac Bell representative Steve Allen said of the booth in 1998, "Though the initial installation date is not known, the Pacific Bell pay phone on Aiken Mine Road has been there for several decades. It was put there originally as a policy station, a California program that mandates phone installation for the safety, health and welfare of residents in remote locations."
A joint press release from both the National Park Service and Pacific Bell stated, "After weighing the environmental concerns and public need, Pacific Bell and the National Park Service agreed to remove a pay phone located in a remote pocket of the Mojave National Preserve. While the phone and its location proved to be a novelty for some in recent months, the increased public traffic had a negative impact on the desert environment in the nation's newest national park."
As of September 10, 2000, the concrete slab which the booth once rested upon was found to be missing.
The phone's number, which may ring somewhere now but certainly not there, was 760-733-9969.
- Desert pay phone cut off. BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_760000/760092.stm)
- The Original Mojave Phone Booth Site. (http://www.deuceofclubs.com/moj/index.html)
- Hartley, Lara. The Loneliest Phone Booth Makes its Final Disconnection, Desert Dispatch (Periodical)