The Ear happened to see a Facebook post by World War II buff, Aaron Buda, that two historic cast iron original telephone boxes, used to protect telephones from the elements, were stolen from Battery Russell gun pits in Fort Stevens State Park sometime between Thursday, Feb. 23, and Friday, Feb. 24. One is pictured, courtesy of Aaron Buda.
The boxes are 12 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches, and weigh about 60 pounds each. “Evidence shows someone did not use a pry bar,” Park Ranger John Koch told the Ear. “They took the time to take them off appropriately.” The Warrenton Police Department has been notified of the theft.
“Gun telephone boxes are rare,” the park ranger added. Apparently only 28 of this type of military installation still exist, as most of them were scrapped after World War II. In fact, Koch said, after Battery Russell fired its last shot — in December 1944, during the decommissioning ceremony — a crew came out that same afternoon and started dismantling the installation. It is surprising the telephone boxes were overlooked.
But not by the thief, obviously, who probably knew they are highly collectible items. Now that you know what they look like, please keep an eye out. Those historic boxes should be returned to Battery Russell. If you know anything about where they might be located, please call Park Ranger John Koch at 503-861-3170.
— Elleda Wilson