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219 Park Ave.

Ed Lamey sold sand and gravel, sewer tile and drain tile along with other building materials. It was on the northwest corner of N. Cook and Main Streets. The second floor housed the first telephone switchboard in Barrington. Lageschulte and Hager Lumber Yard is visable in the background. Photo circa 1890.


Another event in 1898, a great year in our advancement, was the coming of the telephone to Barrington on a village franchise. The Chicago Telephone Company began its service here with eight subscribers. The first switchboard was in the Barrington Review office, a small frame building on North Cook Street where the Northern Light is now. In August of that same year, 1898, it was moved to the three story Commercial Hotel on East Main Street where the Strand Dress plant is now. Mr. Linus R. Lines was the proprietor, and operator of the telephone. Miles T. Lamey's Review office was phone No. 1 and Attorney Clark McIntosh was phone No. 2. Phones were on the wall and were a brown wooden case with a stationary mouth piece. To call the operator for a connection to another phone, one had to grind the bell crank on the right side of the phone box.


In 1903 when Arthur C. Schroeder of Manitowoc was local manager, the switchboard was moved into premises of their sole use in the small shack which was originally Billy Hamilton's carpenter shop at the northwest corner of East Main and Ela Streets. It was close up to the sidewalks in the yard where the Cities Service Gas Station is now. Mr. George Wilburn, now retired from managerial service, was operator there. That building was moved in 1940 to 108 Grant Street.


As the growing service demanded more room, they moved to their brick building across Ela Street to the northeast corner of the same intersection. That building soon had to be enlarged for rnore switchboards.


In 1923 the Chicago Telephone Company became the Illinois Bell Telephone Co.


In 1940 the Barrington switchboard had 1550 phones, an increase of one hundred in two years. In 1953 we had 3712 phones here. In that building they had switchboard positions for thirty-eight operators, and at the height of their service from that building they had one hundred fifteen operators listed at one time.


Their business office was established at 213 Park Avenue in August, 1946, when more space away from the exchange building was necessary. Then it was moved to 113 East Main Street.


In 1956 Manager Robert L. Pearson announced that Barrington was to have a large building erected at 430 East Main Street to house a new system of dial telephoning and automatic connections much faster than waiting for operators; that Barrington's exchange would be DUnkirk, calling DU 1- plus four more figures. Ground was broken by the officials in January of 1957. A brick building set on deep caissons was completed and the change-over was made on Sunday, April 20, 1958. An open house followed, which revealed to the layman the marvels of telephony. The Pacific coast was called and answered in a matter of seconds without any operator. Still there were twenty-four positions on the switchboard for some calls. On Tuesday, February 19, 1959, for instance, five thousand toll calls went through the Barrington office. The building is so constructed that there is still opportunity for greater expansion.


By April, 1960, all of the eight party lines in the village had been Converted to one and two party lines. By July of that same year all four party lines in the village were changed over.


An admirable record at the switchboard was that of Miss Frances Bauman, who retired after 32 years of service, 28 years of that time in the Barrington exchange and 18 years as chief operator.

-Arnett C. Lines


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Taken on May 19, 2010