Farmers put in their own lines (ca. 1912)


Oct 21, 1920, Threshing machines of Henry Nelson at Clear Lake Farm
Oct 21, 1920, Threshing machines of George Henry Nelson at Clear Lake Farm

It’s hard to imagine Rainier Connect telling you today, “We don’t have lines out where you live. But,  if you put them in yourself and rent our technology, we’ll make sure to take some off your phone bill.”

But back in the early days of telephone, that’s more or less what happened. Per the History of Southeastern Pierce County, the Silver Lake Telephone Company installed two lines in 1912. They were 10 miles apart and serviced 23 people. The first home to get hooked up was owner N. P. Christensen’s. And early officers in the fledgling company were John Kipper and Frank Krones.

Farmers Want to get Connected
It was too expensive for the private company to build additional lines for farmers and other living miles from the two main lines. So what did the farmers do? They banded together and put in their own lines and rented a switchboard in exchange for a reasonable rate. (I hope they got some discount!)

Photo courtesy of Nelson family.

Click on image to enlarge.


9 responses to “Farmers put in their own lines (ca. 1912)”

    • I was thinking, if I could contact Comcast and say, I’ll dig a trench for high speed — I might go in with my neighbors and do it. 🙂

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  1. If this is the Nelson Farm on the corner of the Mountain Hwy and Craiger Rd his name George Henry Nelson, (went by George) the oldest son of Paul and Josephine Nelson.

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  2. If this is the Nelson Farm on the corner of the Mountain Hwy and Craiger Rd the name should be George Henry Nelson, (went by George). He was the oldest son of Paul and Josephine Nelson.

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