World’s Smallest Police Station
We are trying to remain a quiet little fishing village
while making room for tourists and vacation visitors. We still have our
"Smallest Police Station in the World" (it's a phone booth) on US
98 at the corner of CR67.
The original is now on display in the Chamber Office,
located at 105 St. James Ave (U.S.98) in downtown Carrabelle, and can be seen
Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
The World's Smallest Police Station" came into being
on March 10, 1963. The city had been having problems with tourists making
unauthorized long distance phone calls on its police phone. The phone was
located in a call box that was bolted to a building at the corner of U.S. 98
and Tallahassee Street. Johnnie Mirabella, St. Joe Telephone's lone
Carrabelle employee at the time, first tried moving the call box to another
building, 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.
With the help of Curly Messer, who was a deputy sheriff at
the time, Mirabella moved the phone booth to its current site on U.S. 98
under the chinaberry tree. 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
tourists to make calls.
It has been featured on television shows "Real
People", "Ripley's Believe It or Not", "The Today
Show", "Johnny Carson". It was featured in the movie
"Tate's Hell" which was produced at Florida State University.
Along with police station T-shirts - the design is copyrighted - there are
police station hats, visors, postcards, and calendars.
But life has not always been easy for the retired St.
Joseph Telephone and Telegraph Company phone booth. Vandals have ripped
phones out of the booth and shot holes through the glass. It has been
knocked over by a pickup truck, and a tourist once asked a gas station
attendant to help him load it into his vehicle to take it back to Tennessee
and it was knocked over and damaged by Hurricane Kate.