World’s Smallest Police Station
In the early 1960's, Carrabelle's police phone was located in a call box that was bolted to a building at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and Tallahassee Street. During this time, the city had problems with people making unauthorized long distance calls on its police phone. Johnnie Mirabella, the only St. Joe Telephone Company employee in Carrabelle at the time, moved the phone to another location, but the illegal calls continued.
Mirabella noticed that the policeman would get drenched while answering phone calls when it was raining. So when the telephone company decided to replace its worn out phone booth in front of Burda's Pharmacy with a new one, he decided to solve both problems at once by putting the police phone in the old booth.
On March 10, 1963, Mirabella, with the help of Curly Messer, deputy sheriff at the time, moved the phone booth to its current site on U.S. Highway 98. The booth did protect the officers from the elements, but some people still snuck into it to make long distance calls. Eventually the dial was removed from the phone, making it impossible for anyone to make calls.
Many hardships have been endured by the retired St. Joe Company phone booth. Vandals have ripped phones from the booth, shot holes through its glass, it has been knocked over by a pickup truck, knocked over and damaged by Hurricane Kate. Adding insult to injury, a tourist once asked a gas station attendant to help him load it into his vehicle so he could take it back to Tennessee with him.
A replica of the booth is on display on U.S. Highway 98 across the street from the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce/Franklin County Visitor Center at 105 St. James Avenue. It has been featured on television shows Real People, Ripley's Believe It or Not, The Today Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It was featured in the movie Tate's Hell, which was produced at Florida State University.
We invite you to stop by and take a souvenir picture for your friends and family!
This video, from Real People, has a bit of humor with some dramatic music! Click here to watch.