(Dover, NH) - When I was a kid in Somersworth...... yes, before cell phones....... these fire boxes were used to "call" the fire department when a fire broke out.

Each box was numbered and every home had lists posted in the kitchen, telling you where the box was located.  When someone pulled the box alarm, the fire horn sounded with that box number. We memorized most of the list and would jump on our bikes and head out to wherever the fire department was going.

Dover did away with the call boxes sometime in the 70' or 80's, and City Clerk Charlie Crocco held an auction to sell off these pieces of Dover history. Of course, I had to have one and paid $75 for Box 47. I can't remember where it had been located, but I'm sure many of you do.

I bring this up because Portsmouth fire officials have announced that they are "retiring" their Municipal Fire Alarm System on May 1.

The system was first installed in Portsmouth in 1884 with 11 boxes and has grown to over 300 of the street and master signal boxes citywide.

Perhaps Portsmouth will auction off the boxes once they have been retired.