The Retired Guys: The Bauman Call Box

December 31, 2018

Dad’s fire department career spanned a total of 34 years, from 1960 to 1994. From 1965 to 1971, he worked at the Westlake Signal Office. During that time, box alarms were used in the metropolitan area to transmit signals that alerted the signal office of where a fire was located. During his tenure at the communications center, he found out that the callboxes were becoming obsolete and that they were removing them from the field when damaged. Dad had an idea to get a hold of an out-of-service callbox. After checking with his co-workers, he found out that he could get a callbox from the salvage yard across the street from the Fire Department repair shops. It was there that mom and dad traded a six-pack of beer for their piece of history. That was in 1965.

The callbox sat in mom and dad’s garage until 1968. When they decided to widen their driveway, the idea of using the callbox as a center piece was born. Mom got busy refurbishing the callbox. It was the focal point of our driveway for 50 years. Over time, as life happens, the finish of the callbox deteriorated.

Recently, we talked about the callbox and decided to tackle the project—so, began the process. We stripped the paint, repaired the base, painted the callbox, painted the letters and brought it back to life. It was a labor of love and we now have a beautifully restored piece of Los Angeles City Fire Department history. Luckily, I was able to locate the original punch card (4173) that was used at Westlake Signal Office. This callbox, with the brass ID 4173, was located at 29th Street and Normandie Ave in Los Angeles.

Dad is very proud of his time with the LAFD. Some of his fondest memories include working at the busier stations in Los Angeles. He truly enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships he made along the way with the people he worked with. Dad finally retired in 1994 and also has two sons-in-law who have recently retired from the fire service. The future is looking bright with a grandson who is a firefighter and two more grandsons who are hopefuls. The legacy of family in the fire service lives on.

By Mark Bauman, son of retired Captain George Bauman

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