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Manfred Telephone Company

Location: Block 3, Lot 7

Proprietor: varied

Year Started: 1909

Year Ended: ca 1960

History of Business: Communications between pioneer families had always been a problem. Emergencies could arise and no help could be quickly summoned. The telephone had been invented and perfected to a certain degree. It was natural that these progressive people should organize a cooperative telephone company. This they did, naming it The Manfred Fram Telephone Company. Some business people and a few farmers quickly organized a rival company contemptuously called by Manfred Fram people The Tamarack Line, because they used cheap tamarack poles. Bell Telephone refused to connect two companies in Manfred to the long distance, so the Tamarack Line was abandoned, except for a line between one business place, the owner’s home and her father-in law’s farm. A later telephone company, using a modern two-wire system replaced Manfred Fram. It was soon bought out by Northwest Bell. The Manfred Telephone Exchange started in 1909; they served 175 farms and businesses. The consolidation and enlarging of farms, and the depression, which forced some farmers to drop or discontinue phone service, the reduction in the number of businesses and residences in Manfred, and lines which were torn down because of construction but were not rebuilt contributed to curtailing services of the exchange which in 1953 had about 60 phones in service.

 

 

Manfred News - May 20, 1915: Central Office – Gertrude LeGrand is now our hello girl at the central.

Manfred News – April 12, 1917 - A snug little addition is being built onto the telephone central to be used for warehouse for apparatus and material and for coal.

Manfred News – May 1917 - The local telephone company is doing considerable remodeling and repairing of the lines in town, changing the poles from the main streets to the alleys and correcting bad places in the lines. Much better service will be the result of the improvement

Manfred News – Jan 1918 – Miss Anna Dovre, the assistant operator at the Manfred telephone office returned to her duties on Wednesday after spending a week’s vacation at her home Fred Johnson was an early operator and line repairman. Marie Hovey was a later operator and held this position from June 1, 1923 to August 1, 1953. Violet Boese Kittelson followed Marie Hovey and ran the office for a number of years. There were living quarters in the Central Office. During the time Marie Hovey was the switchboard operator her mother lived with her. During the time Violet was the operator her daughter Bonnie lived with her and attended school in Manfred. There were no doubt other operators, but at this point there is no information about them.

 

Source: Excerpts from Growing With Pride – page 576 and the Old Manfred News

Daisy – Manfred Telephone Company

Reference points:

Red rectangle - Manfred School

Blue rectangle - Vang Lutheran Church

Purple rectangle – Post Office/Bank

Green rectangle – Solheim Station