Walnut Grove Pioneer Village : Telephone Office
The Telephone Operator slept next to the switchboard so they could answer calls at all hours. However, the calls after 9:00 p.m. were supposed to be emergency only.
Customers had numbers, however, the Operator had to use a long series of long and short rings. For instance, one might be SL 55 or 559, etc.. In other words, when someone called "Central" or the office, that persons line would drop and the Operator would put in a plug and find out who they wanted to call and then plug in that persons line.
When there were several people on a given line everyone could hear the ring. Often times other people would listen in on others calls which was called "rubbering". The wall phones were battery powered so sometimes many people would listen, it weakened the voice so much they couldn't hear anything. If the "Central" office had a power outage, the Operator had to crank a small generator to make enough power for a ring to a customer.
The Operator was basically the lifeline of the community, taking care of many situations and emergencies. When there was a fire, the Operator would set off the siren. The office also became a social gathering place in the community. Roma Nagle started working there when she was 14 years old and that is where her romance began with her husband James.
At 4:00 p.m., April 18, 1958, the Long Grove switchboard was turned off and the dial system took its place. They merged with Eldridge and became the Central Scott Telephone Company.
Telephone Office Amenities:Walnut Grove Pioneer Village Sites: Antique Farm Machinery Building • Barber Shop • Bison Saloon • Blacksmith Shop • Boothill Cemetery • Carpenter Shop • Chicago, Burlington Quincy Caboose 14353 • Doctor's Office • Donahue Train Depot • Firehouse • Garage • Keppy & Nagle General Store • Olde St. Anns Church • Savings Bank • School Museum Butler No 2 • Shaff Cabin • Soda Fountain Shop • Telephone Office • The Ox Locomotive • Tobin Cabin