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Home Telephone Building
Home Telephone Building
TitleHome Telephone Building
DescriptionPostcard of the Home Telephone Company Building at 1018 Baltimore
Historical ArticleKansas City had two separate telephone companies when this photographic post card was made in 1909; separate offices, exchanges, telephone poles and personnel. Both systems had long-distance services.

Residents decided which company they preferred; most business houses had both. It was an aggravation to phone a new acquaintance and discover he or she did not have a phone hookup with the same company.

The Home Telephone Company Building was at 1018 Baltimore, as pictured. The Adams Express offices are shown next door.

The Home Telephone Company acquired the 30-year franchise that was granted to John Enoch by the city council in November, 1901. The company was to pay 2 per cent of the gross receipts, furnish 30 free telephones to the City Hall and was limited in its rates of charge to $36 a year for residence service and $60 a year for business service. Home Company records showed 20,146 telephones in use for the year ending March 31, 1908. (The Bell Telephone Company reported 20,000 instruments in use the same year.)

Long-distance connections were located on the top floor of the building pictured, according to Elizabeth Wagner, a telephone information operator at the time. She said she received $28.50 and later $30 a month, with no days off. One day she was called to the office of the supervisor, named Mrs. King, and was rebuked for having been seen walking at noon on 11th with one of the men supervisors of the company. A Home Company rule forbade fraternization between men employees and the telephone girls, a rule supposedly made for better discipline.

The Home Telephone Company and the Bell system merged in August, 1919. Regulatory bodies agreed the transaction was to the best interests of the public.

Kansas City Times
January 5, 1974

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectBuildings
Home Telephone Building
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
RightsReproduction (printing, downloading, or copying) of images from Kansas City Public Library requires permission and payment for the following uses, whether digital or print: publication; reproduction of multiple copies; personal, non-educational purposes; and advertising or commercial purposes. Please order prints or digital files and pay use fees through this website. All images must be properly credited to: "Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri." Images and texts may be reproduced without prior permission only for purposes of temporary, private study, scholarship, or research. Those using these images and texts assume all responsibility for questions of copyright and privacy that may arise.
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