California Telephone Museum: Completely Destroyed in 2015 Wildfire

I racked my brain to think of something I could post about in regards to a personal situation that had occurred, but other than my friend and my dad both receiving the wrong prescriptions on various occasions there was little else I could think about that would be able to fill a whole blog post. So when this story landed in my inbox at the beginning of last week I was pretty pleased! (Obviously not about the fact the whole museum was burnt to the ground – but because it meant I had something to write about!)

The JKL Museum before the fire.

The John K. La Rue (JKL) Museum of Telephony (also known as the American Museum of Telephony) was located near the town of San Andreas in California and along with surrounding residences was completely destroyed by fire on September 10th 2015. Due to this being such a recent even there is little known if anything at all has survived, although the JKL Museum’s blog states that it is unlikely as firefighters informed workers that the whole museum had ‘burned to the ground’.

The museum was dedicated the preserving the history of various telephones and their history and it is said to have contained thousands of telephones, telephone switching boards along with other telephone equipment, books and catalogues from the late 1800s to the present day.

Six days after it had burned down fire crews were still at the scene as it was still smoking. A representative from the museum also issued a blog post stating that they intended to rebuild the museum but of course it would take much time and planning and that they were hoping to replace much of the unique trove of telephones that they had unfortunately lost.

The museum also maintained an archives library containing catalogs, brochures, and telephone company publications,all of which have been destroyed in the fire, some of which will be very hard if at all possible to replace.

Volunteers are currently being gathered in order to help with the rebuilding of the collection and to help find anything that is not completely ruined (although unlikely). However, the mangers of the museum have stated that they most certainly will rebuild, so I guess we need to watch this space and see how they do this! Fingers crossed it doesn’t take too long.

All photographs courtesy of JKL Museum website -> JKL Museum

Information gathered from below sources:
Article from the Observer
Article from
JKL Museum Blog
Article from NetworkWorld


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