Michigan Woman Has a Unique Talent for Finding Old Payphones
There's nothing more soul-crushing than mentioning a movie from my teen years to someone who is younger than me and them having absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.
Now, try explaining what payphones were to these youngins (she says while screaming get off my lawn).
At one point, payphones were the only way people who were out and about could contact whoever they needed to contact. Naturally, with the growth of new technology, mobile phones, and more, payphones became obsolete. In fact, I can't remember the last time I even saw a payphone. Spotting one 'in the wild' would feel like some sort of discovered treasure.
Thankfully, there's a woman in Michigan who has made it her mission to find, photograph and share these rare finds with the rest of us.
I came across a post from Jennifer Gifford in the Facebook group Abandoned, Old and Interesting Places in Michigan where she shared a picture of a lone payphone in Flint. Her caption, in part, read,
I believe this now makes my 11th find. Stayed tuned...I'll be back with more!
Sure enough, the further I scrolled the more pictures of payphones I found.
Fascinated with why and how Jennifer was finding all of these forgotten relics, I reached out to her to ask a few questions:
1. Why payphones/phone booths?
Jennifer has been an active member of the group Abandoned, Old and Interesting Places in Michigan often posting old cars and buildings. She went on to tell me,
One day I saw a payphone, not something you see every day so, I took a picture. I hesitated posting it to the group because it is not an actual place, but after a few days decided why not. Payphones, Phone booths are kind of their own place. I started receiving all kinds of likes and comments on it. I knew where there were a couple of other payphones so I went and took pictures and slowly started to share them. It was the responses of everyone saying they loved seeing them that made me keep sharing them.
Truly, people are actively commenting on Jennifer's posts saying how much they love this idea.
2. HOW are you finding all of these payphones?
My main question to Jennifer was, how?? How is she finding all of these payphones that are, somehow, still standing? She said,
My husband and I are all over the state for both work and just fun so we are always taking pictures as we go. We've started to keep our eyes open for the payphones or phone booths as we go.
As her posts become more popular people are sharing locations of other known payphones.
Granted, not all of these payphones are in working condition. In fact, a lot of them look like they've barely made it to 2021. Here are all the payphones Jennifer has found around Michigan so far: