Off the hook

As cell phones proliferate, public pay phones are dwindling. AT&T is getting out of the pay phone business, announcing it plans to sell its 65,000 pay phones around the country, including 21,000 in California, by the end of 2008. Verizon will be the last major company still in the business. (There are an estimated 1 million pay phones in the U.S., down from 2.1 million in 1999.)

While the Inland Valley still has plenty of pay phones, I’m always on the lookout for old-fashioned enclosed phone booths, the kind Superman liked to use.

They’re an endangered species. I can think of two, one at the Chino Airport, outside of Flo’s Cafe, and one in Ontario, next to Juanita’s. They’re the worse for wear, but they’re there. When I visited Flo’s a few months back, I checked the phone for a dial tone and was reassured to find one.

Know of any others?

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  • DICEBLU

    I’ll bet ya checked the coin slot too, eh?

    [Yes, and was disappointed. -- DA]

  • Scott in R.C.

    In the past, I have used both of those locations myself. The only other one I can think of was in Chino on Central Avenue across from Chino Lumber and Hardware. Not sure if it’s still there as it’s been quite a few years since I had to use it.

  • Anonymous

    There is an old-fashioned built-in phone booth in the Pomona Fox Theater in the downstairs lobby. Unfortunately, no phone. But I’m pretty sure that the booth will be preserved in the current restoration. Any suggestions what should go inside?

    [A phone? OK, I'm old-fashioned. A photo booth? A continuous loop of silent film to make it like a private screening booth? -- DA]