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The Real Early Years

The earliest means of communication was the telegraph line from Dubuque to Jesup, which ran through Winthrop. It was completed in November of 1863. At that time, the former station agent was replaced by Frank Ward, because he could "run the paper through the telegraph machine and read the dots."

In November of 1886, telephone wires were being put up on poles and a new office was set-up in Independence.

In 1905, there was hardly a home or town in Eastern Buchanan county without phone service. The local office was located in H.C. Unbehaun store, with Bell Telephone handling long distance out of the J.B. Ryan pharmacy.

In 1904, with telephones being the most efficient method of transmitting gossip, the central telephone exchange had to put this plea in the paper:

"In cases of sickness it is desired that patrons shall not call for the numbers where the sick are…This request and rule are made to relieve the afflicted of hearing the phone ring every minute…How would you like it if you were sick and each one of your friends, two hundred or more, would call up every morning and say: "Hello, my central's slow! How's Bill? No better! Too bad! Think he's not better? Hope he'll be better tomorrow. If you want any help let me know. Tell Bill I asked about him. What doctor you got? Goodby."

A new switchboard was installed in 1906: "One can say hello over it without a megaphone. It is a fine affair with 150 drops and is a modern machine in every particular."

In May 1910, the office was moved to a new building, which is the present location.

The first telephone directory was issued in 1908. Names were listed alphabetically with a number opposite the name (for example, 34A).

At this time, the telephone office was also being used as a weather station. "If you want to know what the weather is going to be, watch the flags hung out of the south window every day at the telephone central office. The three cornered flag, red, means warmer and the same shape in black, cooler…So far the forecasts have been quite reliable and accurate as one could expect on so unreliable a subject as the weather."

The 30s Through the 80s

In 1937, the Mutual Telephone Exchange (24 county lines) and Winthrop Telephone Exchange decided to incorporate and become the Winthrop Cooperative Telephone Exchange. Memberships were $1.00. Rural fees: $12.00 per year. Town, $2.00 per month, extensions $.50 and business phones: $3.00 per month. The manager's salary was $1,050.00. In 1963, the manager got a raise so he could pay the help $1.00 per hour.

In the early sixties, negotiations began to change to a dial system. Other towns were contacted, and eventually Quasqueton, Stanley and Aurora joined, and East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative was organized. Buried dial service began in 1967.

Equal access arrived in August 1989, due to the association with Iowa Network Services, of which East Buchanan is an original stock holder.

The Last 10 Years-Where Do You Fit In Our Story?

Digital Broadcast Satellite / DirecTV

Few would have guessed that an entertainment revolution was started in 1994 when our first DBS system was installed at Barb Rasmussen’s home in Quasqueton. We currently have over 1,300 DBS customers throughout Buchanan County and the once exclusive hardware is now sold at Wal-Mart and Radio Shack.

Dial-up Internet Service

As our first customer back in December of 1996, I’m sure John Reidy would agree that the Internet has had a profound effect on his life. EBTC was pleased to assist Roger Wandschneider and Ken Cappel with the installation of a dedicated 56K circuit at EB High School in November of 1997. EBTC was also pleased to assist Mark McCright in upgrading the high school’s facility to a T-1 in March of 2000.

Wireless Phone Service

EBTC was the first Independent Telephone Company to construct a tower and offer digital cellular phone service in association with Iowa Wireless. Although growth has been phenomenal, our records indicate that the first customer was Nicole Dopp on May 28, 1999. Since that time coverage has expanded to Dubuque in the east, Fayette, Clayton and Winnisheik Counties to the north and large numbers of independently owned towers to the south. During 2001, our focus will be on connecting customers to the new cable and using the network's full potential.

EB Long Distance

In response to the confusing plans offered by other long distance carriers, Bill Raus and Lynn Postel were the first customers to sign up for EBTC’s $.10 and $.14 long distance plans during July of 1999.

Telephone Updates

In 1997 we noted that a majority of our cable was 25 – 30 years old and that we were running out of capacity for new lines in a number of areas. So we began the tedious process of rebuilding and upgrading our network in the fall of 1998. It is our challenge to connect existing people to the new cable and fully use the network’s potential.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve made many improvements, and added many additional services to benefit you. In fact, we’ve added Annual Customer Appreciation Days, printed a comprehensive Customer Handbook to assist you in choosing services, extended our office hours, and added automatic bill payment service. We also take Visa and Mastercard payments. In addition, we’ve added two new telephone features to help you manage your busy life. Telemarketer Call Screening helps you avoid annoying calls from telemarketers, and our Toll Limitation Services, which we offer free to all customers, allow you to budget your long distance calls each month easily.

A Building Committee was appointed on March 2,2000 to oversee the construction of a 3,900 sq. ft office addition. Members of the Building Committee included Harold Schneider, Greg Fawcett, Ernie Kress and Lee Bossom. Cory Kress was also hired to draft the floor plan and function as construction liaison.

Construction was started in July of 2000 and completed in December of 2000. The idea was to create a place where our customers could come to experience technology, to become more educated about the services available to you, and to learn, first hand, which services can best benefit you in your every day life. We hope you enjoy and benefit from our technology center, and to learning how your history has helped to shape how your communicate today.

The History of Telephone in Stanley

HOMELocal History The first switchboard went into service in 1906 and was located at the former M.M. Elder Hardware and Implement Shop, east of the gasoline engine factory on the south side of Main Street. 11 year-old Clyde Richards was the first telephone operator.

The switchboard moved seven times before finally being set-up in the Stanley Hotel in 1919.

The switchboard and the nine telephones were owned by the Iowa Telephone Company, who was planning to discontinue service in Stanley in 1919. A few interested persons secured the names of 74 families, so that they could create a local exchange. A meeting was held, and a committee appointed to buy the old switchboard and the nine telephones. Thus, the Stanley Mutual Telephone Exchange was born. They rented five rooms (to house the enormous equipment) in the E.M. Stimson Stanley Hotel as a temporary home.

The first officers and directors were:

D.M. Schwartz—President
John Maller—Vice President
R.R. Shennan—Secretary/Treasurer
J. Guy Swartzell—Manager
Harold Brownell, George Jellings and Roy Zabriskic were Directors

In 1920, the toll line between Stanley and Aurora was built, and a new switchboard was purchased, which was used until 1960. In 1927, they bought the E.M. Stimson Stanley Hotel for $766, and incorporated. In August of 1967, they became a part of the East Buchanan Telephone Company and went to the dial system.
The History of Telephone in Stanley


East Buchanan
Telephone Cooperative
P.O. Box 100
214 Third Street North
Winthrop, IA 50682-0100

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