Fire Alarm Boxes and Police Call Boxes were once common throughout cities and towns in the developed world. Police Call Boxes may be familiar to many readers through Doctor Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S., which takes The Doctor on his adventures through space and time. Fire Alarm boxes may be less familiar, since they have disappeared from many municipalities and have not been recycled as a pop-culture icon.
Edmonton installed its first Fire Alarm Boxes in 1907, and followed these with Police Boxes (though much different from the British style seen in Doctor Who) in 1910. The articles and images in this post sum up the best online references to the City of Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm System and Gamewell Police Alarm System as well as Strathcona’s Northern Electric Fire Alarm System. This article will be updated if and when new material surfaces.
Thanks go to the Peel Prairie Provinces Newspaper Collection for the newspaper clippings below. There are more relevant articles on the Peel website, but most dealt with questions of system cost and financing.
The Edmonton Bulletin, May 27, 1895, p.1
Rumblings about a Fire Alarm System go back to the 1800s, as this article shows.
The Edmonton Bulletin, June 10, 1903, p.2
And rumblings continue in the early 1900s…
The Edmonton Bulletin, November 21, 1906, p.2
Finally, we see action and a Gamewell Fire Alarm system has been ordered for the young City of Edmonton.
The Edmonton Bulletin, January 31, 1907, p.2
Not to be outdone, the City of Strathcona looks into a fire alarm system.
The Edmonton Bulletin, April 1, 1907, p.4
The Edmonton Bulletin, May 17, 1907, p.7
The Edmonton Bulletin, May 28, 1907, p.5
The Edmonton Bulletin, June 4, 1907, p.1
The Edmonton Bulletin, September 30, 1907, p.8
Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm System is installed!
The Edmonton Bulletin, October 3, 1907, p.8
Where might I find a Fire Alarm Box in Edmonton in 1907? Glad you asked…
The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1907, p.2
And, just behind Edmonton, Strathcona installs its Northern Electric Fire Alarm System.
The Edmonton Bulletin, May 10, 1910, p.1
Police Boxes for Edmonton?
The Edmonton Bulletin, November 17, 1910, p.8
Twenty-five Gamewell Police Call Boxes installed in Edmonton in late November 1910. This article includes a detailed description of Edmonton’s Gamewell Police Call Boxes.
The Edmonton Capital, January 7, 1911, p.6
Gamewell Fire Alarm System equipment in an Edmonton fire hall.
The Edmonton Bulletin, February 7, 1918, p.2
The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1920 (City Edition), p.9
A detailed description of Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm Boxes.