Waterloo phone booth returns

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Monday for the opening of downtown Waterloo’s new phone booth. The original phone booth was connected in the 1970s and was destroyed by a two-car accident in late November.

A staple of downtown Waterloo that returned this week was heralded as a Christmas gift to the community.

Harrisonville Telephone Company confirmed Thursday that the company was going to replace the iconic old telephone booth at the northeast corner of the Monroe County Courthouse grounds in downtown Waterloo.

Pictured, H.R. Gentsch is the first to check out the new phone booth after the ribbon-cutting for the replacement of the iconic booth.

A phone booth had been at that location for about 50 years, HTC estimated, until a Nov. 25 crash at the intersection of East Mill and North Market streets resulted in it being destroyed. 

Tributes to the old phone booth were shared on social media once news of its demise had spread, with many calling for HTC to immediately replace it.

Remembrances included many locals sharing photos of themselves or family and friends either inside or next to the old phone booth. 

Outsiders Tavern patrons also shared stories of calling the number for the phone booth and surprising an unsuspecting visitor.

After reviewing the situation, HTC Vice President of Operations Craig Hern told the Republic-Times on Thursday that a replacement phone booth would be installed early Monday.

The Waterloo Chamber of Commerce even commemorated the occasion by scheduling a 10:30 a.m. Monday ribbon-cutting that was attended by several locals.

HTC said the new phone booth carries the same number the former one did.

“It looks a little different, but it is a regular pay phone and booth just like the last one,” Hern said.

The response to HTC’s decision to replace the iconic phone booth was overly positive.

“Thanks for the Christmas present HTC. You made my day,” longtime Outsiders  Tavern manager Butch Kunkel posted on Facebook.

Elizabeth Hannel agreed.

“Yeah! Thank you very much from a hometown girl that was born and raised here and used that phone quite a few times,” she posted on Facebook.

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