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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

Property Name Prairie Grove Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth
Reference Number 15000291
State Arkansas
County Washington
Town Prairie Grove
Street Address Southwest comer of East Douglas (U.S. 62) and Parker streets
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 11/9/2015
Areas of Significance ARCHITECTURE, COMMUNICATIONS
Link to full file https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/15000291.pdf
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"The Prairie Grove Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion C as an excellent example of the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth developed in the mid-1950s. When the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth was introduced c.1954, advertisements touted it as ""something new in telephone booths."" Its aluminum construction was an improvement over previous booths, and the glass around it, along with the overhead light, made the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth well-lighted and very comfortable to use. The Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth had several distinctive characteristics that were common to that type of telephone booth, and which are exhibited in the example in Prairie Grove. The aluminum frame and glass panels allowed the weather resistance and weather protection for users that were necessary for an outdoor application. The previous wooden telephone booths were designed for indoor use, so the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth represented an evolution in telephone booth design in order to allow it to function better in more varied environments. Advertisements for the Airlight booth also touted the ""tip-up directories"" that are in ""easy reach"" and the ""ample shelf for packages and handbags,"" both of which are present in the Prairie Grove booth. In addition, the Prairie Grove Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth is also being nominated to the National Register with local significance under Criterion A for its importance in the communications history of Prairie Grove. By the early 1980s, AT&T oversaw approximately 1.4 million pay phones around the country. In the days before cellular phones, the pay phone and telephone booth were instrumental in allowing telephone communications outside the home or office. Furthermore, the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth was important in communications in the fact that it was geared towards automobile users, especially in small towns and rural areas, which also represented an evolution from the previous phone booths that were more pedestrian oriented. Although the introduction of cellular phones has meant the fast and widespread demise of the phone booth, a local outcry called for the reinstallation of the Prairie Grove Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth after it was damaged in early 2014, illustrating the importance of the phone booth to the local community. "

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria