World’s Smallest Police Station in Carrabelle, Florida
Located in the small coastal town of Carrabelle, Florida, sits the world’s smallest police station, and they are not kidding when they say smallest. Below you can see the small police station as it sits on the corner of Highway 98.
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Equipment used to capture the 360-degree panoramic images:
In 1947, Albin Westberg became the Polie Chief and the only day policeman in Carrabelle. He and his night officers had to protect the citizens, answer calls, pump water for the tugboats at the City Dock, catch speeders on what was Highway 319, now Highway 98, plus tend to tall the prisoners in the jail located in City Hall. In 1953, the phone company installed a phone in a call box bolted to the wall of the building on the northeast corner of Tallahassee St and the highway. The officers could then answer the calls while out walking the beat. Then they began to have a new problem. People started to use the newly installed phone to make unauthorized long-distance calls.
Later, Johnnie Maribella, St. Joe Telephone and Telegraph’s lone Carrabelle employee at the time, first tried moving the call box to another building, but the illegal calls continued to happen. He also noticed that policemen would get drenched while answering the calls in the rain. So when his company decided to replace a worn-out phone booth 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 Deputy sheriff Wilburn “Curley” Messer, moded the phone booth to its current site on U.S. Highway 98 under the shiny berry tree. The Chief hired a man to do the lettering to mark it as the City of Carrabelle Police Station. It had worked well and increased the efficiency of the two-man police force. The officers could now park the patrol car in the shade, do the required paperwork, listen for the phone while watching for speeders and other suspicious characters. The booth did protect the officers from the elements, but some people still snuck into the “police station” to make long-distance phone calls. Eventually, to deter people from making calls, the dial was removed from the phone making it almost impossible for people to make outgoing calls. It continued to serve the police of Carrabelle for decades.
Sarah Purcell, the hose of the TV show “real people” was visiting her father and discovered the phone booth. She had to feature it on the show in 1991 where the show dubbed it as the “World’s Smallest Police Station”. Later that year, Johnny Carson had a lively interview with the then Carrabelle Police Chief Jessie Gordon Smith on the “Tonight Show”. It has also been featured on other shows such as, “That’s Amazing”, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”, “The Today Show” and in the movie “Tate’s Hell”.
At one point in its history, I guy from Tennesee was in town and asked a local shopkeeper to help him load the police station in the back of his truck so he could take it home with him.
Below is the video from “Real People”
Learn more about the World’s Smallest Police Station on the Carrabelle website.