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The History of Telephone Company

 

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The history and development of the Telephone Company in Cherryville is truly an interesting one.

Two young and energetic men, Mr. N, B. Kendrick and Mr., J. W. Kendrick organized the Cherryville Telephone Company in l900. The population of Cherryville at this time was about 200. The first building housing the switchboard was located at the corner of East Main and Mountain Streets where the bank la now located. This building was constructed with post oak poles secured from the Aderholdt woods nearby. It was a structure 12 X 16 feet with no upstairs. There was no better built building in town, it was a one story building. There was no structure In town that had a second story.

These two men agreed It they could get 12 subscribers at $1.00 per month each, they would start a Company. On solicitation they were able to get 38 subscribers.. It took two months to build the lines, all of which were party lines.. The equipment was of the old magneto type Sumter sets..

At this time were no paved streets or sidewalks In Cherryville and the pole line went down Main Street with each circuit entering the front of the building. Many people were very skeptical of the telephone In those days, thinking that they could not be properly grounded. Among the first subscribers were:

J. H. Rudisill & Co., Rudisill & Aderholdt,, M. E. Rudisill, Lutheran Parsonage, J., M. Beam Livery Stable, Seaboard Railway Co., S. S. Mauney, P. C. Beam Store, J. B., Houser,, Gaston Mfg. Co. Office Gaston Mtg. Co. Store, N. B. Kendrick, J. W., Kendrick, T.B. Leonhardt, Hotel & Boarding House, Commercial Livery Co., Baptist Parsonage, Dr. A.W. Howell Drug Store, Dr. A.W. Howell Office, P.C. Beam, P.L. Gardner, D.w. Aderholdt.

This picture was made in 1910, shows Cherryville's first telephone office and switchboard. One of the telephone operators is Mrs. Exie Sheehan Black, mother of Mr. Hugh Black. The other is unknown.

The first operator was Mrs. Bertha Moss Delliinger who operated the board for many years during the day. Mr. David P. Dellinger was the night operator. Instructions were given subscribers to make no calls at night unless it was of an emergency nature.

Several years later, about 1910 the Cherryville Company was purchased by the Piedmont Telephone & Telegraph Company with headquarters in Gastonia, NC. At this time the Company had grown to about 100 to 125 subscribers. Soon all poles were taken off main street.

Mr. W.G. Spake was the first manager in charge. Mr. L.P. Dellinger was manager and Plant Manager for the Company for many years before his retirement on August 31, 1942.

The Company has had a very substantial growth in Cherryville over the years. On December 31, 1938 there were 209 telephones. The Cherryville exchange was converted to dial system on March 4, 1942 with 350 telephones. On December 31, 1945 there were 429 telephones and on January 1, 1952, 1083 stations and by November 1, 1954 stations had increased to 1600. In 1960 there were 2703 telephones in Cherryville, in year 1965 there were 3,852 telephones, and 5,278 in 1970. Today there are 6,032 telephones in Cherryville.

This article was published in the Cherryville Eagle in 1972