Lawrence Telephone Co. Building burned
September 8, 2022
The Lawrence Telephone Company ceased existence in 1958 when the business was sold to the Glenwood Telephone Membership Corp. However, a reminder of the business continued on in the presence of the phone company's office sitting on the north end of Main Street in Lawrence.
The evidence of that building will soon go away as well as the Lawrence Fire Department used the building for a 'Practice Burn' on Sunday, Aug. 28. The building is gone but the remaining trash has to be cleaned up.
After the building's use as the phone company's central office, it had been the residence of several people, but has set empty for a number of years. The building is now gone and the yard area cleaned up to make for a nice looking area.
A bit of the history for the phone company is as follows:
The first mention of a telephone in the Lawrence area was in 1897 when some of the farmers had set up a system of communication by using wire fences attached to telephones. This provided a workable system as long as the fences were in good repair.
In 1904 Henry Gilsdorf organized the Lawrence Telephone Company and lines were built in the country. The system went into operation in May, 1904 with its first office in the east end of the Brandt building. The office building on the north end of Main Street was built in 1905. N. P. Scott was the first manager and Letha Fox the first operator. There were 55 subscribers. The phone company provided employment for many women and high school girls who worked as switch-board operators over the years.
George Gilsdorf managed the company for many years before selling to Glenwood.