The Northwestern Telephone Company came to Mankato in 1880 with the first telephone lines in city hall, Hubbard Mill and the Mankato House hotel. Northwestern remained the only telephone company for almost two decades, with coverage expanding to a larger area in Mankato, as well as to Lake Crystal, Amboy, and Rapidan.
Unhappy with telephone company’s high prices, several businessmen came together and in 1898 formed the Mankato Citizen’s Telephone Company (MCTC). Over the years, the company grew, adding long distance services at the turn of the century and moving out of its original Front Street location to a new building Second Street In 1918, the Federal Government took control of all the large telephone companies and broke them into smaller companies. This allowed MCTC to expand outside Mankato and operate the phone lines in Madison Lake and Eagle Lake. In 1963, MCTC relocated to Hickory Street and became known as HickoryTech around 2000. The company became Enventis in 2013 and was soon acquired by Consolidated Communications out of Chicago, although local business is still operated out of the Hickory Street location.
TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is done in partnership with KEYC News 12 in Mankato. To see this segment live, watch the Noon news on Thursdays.