Back in time: The telephone comes to town

A telephone operator at work at an unknown location around 1915. (Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society)

A telephone operator at work at an unknown location around 1915. (Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society)

BY BRENT PETERSON – GAZETTE COLUMNIST

In today’s society there are a wide number of ways people can contact one another. They can fax each other, use their cell phones, email, text or tweet, Facebook or other new ways to connect on important matters. It seems as though people talk to each other without actually doing the talking. The home telephone seems obsolete.

When Alexander Graham Bell introduced the world to the telephone at the 1876 Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia, it seemed almost like a miracle. Now someone could have a conversation with someone else without having to stand right next to each other. The public was floored!

It didn’t take long for this new invention to make its way across the country. The first franchise to construct a telephone exchange in Stillwater was granted to the Northwestern Telephone Exchange Company on Nov. 18, 1879.

Want to read more about the telephone coming to Stillwater? See the whole column by Brent Peterson, of the Washington County Historical Society, in the Nov. 15 edition of the Gazette, available at newsstands through Nov. 19 or at the Gazette office, 1931 Curve Crest Blvd., Stillwater, Minn.

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