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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo of a call box in Washington, D.C. around 1912

CALL BOXES. The Gainwell Reporting System was installed in Dubuque in 1924 beginning with nineteen stations placed strategically around the city. Until the 1960s when the police department first had personal communication devices to carry, communication between the police station and the officers was carried out through call boxes. Identified by red lights that blinked when a call from the department was being made, the call boxes were located around the city. Using a key, the officer opened the box to receive or make calls to the station.

Listing of all call boxes in Dubuque. Photo courtesy: Jim Massey