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Looking Back: The Phone Company

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This early day Wenatchee photo was recently sent to us with a request for additional information.

We knew this was the old phone company building at 210 S. Chelan Ave. We didn't know the names of the men or the date, only that the photo was taken before an addition was made onto the front.

We published this photo in the Aug. 7 "Old News" column and also on The World's Facebook page. Since then, I've received several responses to fill in some blanks.

Two of the men were identified as Ralph Olson (third from the left) and Fred Johnson (far right). The man with the hat (second from the left) was said to be the phone company manager. It is believed the photo was taken around the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Here's some more background:

In the Aug. 12, 1925 edition of The Daily World, a photo is shown of Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company's new long distance headquarters at the corner of Yakima and South Chelan, which was opened for business in March of that year.

The building and equipment represented an investment of $80,000.

Nine women were employed in establishing long distance telephone connections between people in North Central Washington and the 200,000 to 300,000 telephones in the state, and the 16 million telephones in the Bell systems all over the U.S.

This headquarters also connected calls between subscribers of the Farmers Telephone & Telegraph Co. and Pacific Co. subscribers in the Okanogan country.

Did you or a family member work for the phone company back then? If you have any additional information about this photo or recollections of the phone company back then, please let us know.

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