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The history of the telephone in Jefferson can be traced back to 1882, when a private two telephone installation connected the Milligan Elevator Company's elevator on the North Western Railroad tracks to their mill south of Jefferson near the present golf course.

Charles Cockerill started the first public telephone exchange in Jefferson.  In 1891, the Jefferson City Council passed a resolution granting the Cockerill Telephone Company the right to use the streets and alleys to erect poles.  In 1912, this company was acquired by Northwestern Bell Telephone Company.

In 1903, a second company was formed called the Farmers Mutual Company (later changed to Citizens Mutual Company).  From 1903 to 1940 there were two competing telephone companies in Jefferson.  This duplication of service made it necessary to have two telephones (one from each company) in order to make connection to everyone in Jefferson!  These two companies were consolidated to form the present Jefferson Telephone Company in 1940.

Since it's inception, the Jefferson Telephone Company has striven to provide quality service at fair rates.  In its history it has been an industry leader in providing the latest in technology.  Some of these include:  being one of the first in Iowa to furnish full metallic common battery, full selective ringing to its farm subscribers; being the first in the United States to install a ringing converter known as the K-5, a machine which allowed ringing any one of ten parties on a farm line without ringing other telephones on the same line; and the first commercial telephone company in Iowa to receive a two way radio permit in 1945.

In more recent times, dial switching was installed in 1957 and direct distance dialing equipment in 1968.  That equipment was in service until July 17, 1982, when a digital switching system (NEAX61K) was placed in operation.  With that change the Jefferson Telephone Company was in the first 15% nationally to convert to digital.

In 1995, new fiber facilities were placed in service for toll calls.

In 1996, a new digital switch (AT&T/Lucent Technology ESS CDX-2000) was placed in service.  The new switch provides a platform for the future.  It has the capacity to expand the features and services that will be offered down the road.  The flexibility of the new switch means better, more sophisticated communications.


The museum, one of the first in the nation dedicated to the preservation of telephone history, was started in 1957.  Many of the items were collected by the Daubendiek family.  Other items were donated by other parties interested in the preservation of the past of the telephone industry.  The trophy fish and mammals were collected by C.H. Daubendiek and more recently by current general manager, Jim Daubendiek.


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105 W. Harrison Street ---- Jefferson, Iowa  50129 ---- (515) 386-4141  phone ---- (515) 386-2600  fax

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