If your like us (and you know you want to be) you probably spent a lot of time in your early teens hanging out in front of convenience stores. For those of us who grew up without cell phones (never mind a smart phone) convenience stores were a great hang out spot for a variety of reasons. The local convenience store offered a place where one could meet their friends, purchase Mountain Dew, burritos, cigarettes, and of utmost importance, communicate with friends through pay phones.
Well, what you might be surprised to learn is that the world's first pay phone was located in a bank in Hartford in 1889. That's right folks, barely a hundred years ago our city was on the cutting edge of technology. The phone was invented by William Gray, a man important enough to not yet have a wikipedia page. While we could sit here and ruminate the parallels between the fate of the pay phone and Hartford, we instead have a better idea.
Let us celebrate the history of the pay phone in Hartford! We present the Sad City Hartford Pay Phone Contest. Let us go out and photograph pay phones in Hartford. Can we get a count on pay phones remaining? Can we honor the pay phone and have Hartford be the first and maybe last U.S. city to have a pay phone? Send in your photos of Hartford pay phones. Be sure to include where the phone is. We will eventually starting tracking this on Google Maps.
Best find wins a beer (or a unsweetened ice tea for non-drinkers).
BONUS: Video tape yourself using a Hartford pay phone to call Sad City's favorite radio station, WCCC, and give a Sad City shout out and become a Sad City Golden Circle Member.