From the Archives, September 17, 2017

Waiting for the Phone

We’ve covered communication at camp several times (see below), but we haven’t ever discussed the very common and well-known method: the pay phone. While a novelty almost everywhere today, from at least the early 1970s to the early 2000s the Cripple Crab had pay phones.

Except for a brief period when there was an actual phone booth at the top of the hill, the pay phones were hung and connected on two boards between the short upright posts. For those not familiar with pay phones, a call was only a few cents (about a nickel at first and about fifty cents by the end) but this was for a limited time (a few minutes) and only for local calls. If you wanted to talk for longer or make a long distance call, you had to pay more.

Nevertheless, the pay phones were popular. While relatively during the day, after dinner and until taps, the Cripple Crab was a busy place. Scouts would walk (yes, WALK) from whichever camp they were staying and wait in line to place their call. Staff members wanting to call family or significant others had to wait in line just like every one else. After all, on a good day, there were only three working phones at the top of the hill. And not every day was a good day!

Other communication posts:
The Switchboard
More Postcards

Pay phones

Here a staff member uses one of the pay phones at the Crab.

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