First Telephone line Installed in 1880

Mankato Citizens Telephone switch board, 1900s

Excerpt from The Heritage of Blue Earth County by Julie Schrader, Topic 35, available in the Research & Genealogy Center.

"In March, 1880, the first telephone line in Blue Earth County was installed.

"According to Thomas Hughes' "History of Blue Earth County," the line ran from city hall in Mankato to the Hubbard mill and then to the Mankato House.

"In 1883, this apparent inter-communication service was extended. The Northwestern Telephone Company (now the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company) installed a telephone plant on July 11, 1883 and obtained 63 subscribers. 

"The next two years, the company built lines to Lake Crystal, Rapidan and Amboy.

"In 1897, a group of Mankatoans, after protesting against what they thought were excessive rates being charged by the Northwestern Telephone Company, talked about organizing a telephone company of their own. 

"An analysis of its position at the stockholders' meeting showed that the Mankato Citizens Telephone Company had issued 353 shared of stock and had 260 telephone subscribers. The company was employing three day operators and one night operator. Later, Mrs. Lizzie Kilbourne was employed as chief operator."

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