With smartphones and tablets most of us, in an emergency, will dial 911 and never give a thought to looking for an fire alarm box outdoors, let alone outside the White House, but it might be worth paying attention to this one (at left) at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street, NW. It is one of many that have been restored throughout the District. The fire alarm boxes were a vast improvement over the sand and bucket brigade of earlier times. When a lever on the box was pulled it transmitted a signal to a central location which alerted the fire department to dispatch horse drawn fire engines. The fire alarm boxes stood atop an iron pedestal (pictured here) and were installed some time in the 1860s. Over time, as technology improved and gaslights gave way to electric, the boxes were abandoned. Now, they stand not only as a remembrance of times past, but also as works of art, including the one featured here of the five U.S. presidents that lived in the Kalorama area of Washington, DC: Presidents Harding, Taft, Hoover, Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.