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Haleyville in Winston County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

First 9-1-1 Call

 
 
First 9-1-1 Call Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 19, 2020
1. First 9-1-1 Call Marker
Inscription.  The first 9-1-1 emergency services telephone call was made from the office of the mayor on February 16, 1968. Earlier in the year, AT&T, which had a near monopoly in the telephone industry at the time, had announced its plans for launching the service from an Indiana exchange. The Alabama Telephone Company, an independent entity, resolved to beat the telecommunications giant to the mark and chose the Haleyville exchange to launch its successful effort. With much fanfare, Alabama House Speaker Rankin Fite placed the first 9-1-1 call in the nation to U.S. Congressman Tom Bevill, who answered in the Haleyville police station.
 
Erected 2015 by Alabama Historical Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsLaw Enforcement. A significant historical date for this entry is February 16, 1968.
 
Location. 34° 13.573′ N, 87° 37.278′ W. Marker is in Haleyville, Alabama, in Winston County. Marker is on 11th Avenue (Alabama Route 13) north of 19th Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or
First 9-1-1 Call Marker looking north on 11th Ave. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 19, 2020
2. First 9-1-1 Call Marker looking north on 11th Ave.
Note the banner, above the marker, showing the city's crest which includes the red telephone handset and "Home of 911".
Click or scan to see
this page online
near this postal address: 1901 11th Ave, Haleyville AL 35565, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. City of Haleyville, Alabama (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Honorable Frank Minis Johnson, Jr. (about 300 feet away); The Byler Road (about 600 feet away); Factory Cemetery (approx. 6.9 miles away); The Free State of Winston / Natural Bridge (approx. 9.2 miles away); Byler Road / History of Natural Bridge (approx. 9½ miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. This Day in History-February 16, 1968. (Submitted on July 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Which Alabama town is home to the nation’s first 911 call?. 2015 article by Carla Davis published in the Alabama Newscenter. Excerpt:
Fitzgerald and his team worked after hours while handling their day job at the telephone company in Fayette to design the circuitry and install the system in less than a week.

“There was a big debate over who should receive the calls,” said Sunseri, son-in-law of James Whitt, Haleyville’s mayor at the time. “They discussed having the calls come into the hospital, the fire department or the police department. They decided the police department was the ideal place because it already had a dispatcher on-site.”
(Submitted on February 8, 2021.) 

3. Wikipedia entry. Excerpt:
The first known use of a national
911 Clipart image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cliparts, #3064474
3. 911 Clipart
emergency telephone number began in the United Kingdom in 1937–1938 using the number 999, which continues to this day. In the United States, the first 911 call was made in Haleyville, Alabama in 1968. In Canada, 911 service was adopted in 1972, and the first 911 call occurred after 1974 roll-out in London, Ontario.

In the United States, the push for the development of a nationwide American emergency telephone number came in 1957 when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended that a single number be used for reporting fires. The first city in North America to use a central emergency number was the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1959, which instituted the change at the urging of Stephen Juba, mayor of Winnipeg at the time. Winnipeg initially used 999 as the emergency number, but switched numbers when 9-1-1 was proposed by the United States.
(Submitted on February 6, 2021.) 

4. How A Sneaky Alabama Town Launched America's 911 System. 2018 article by Andrew Yeager (WBHM) at npr.org. Excerpt:
“I told him I think we can do a 911 system and beat AT&T out,” said Bob Gallagher [president of the Alabama Telephone Co.]. “And he said go get ’em. And off we went.”

Gallagher knew he had to act fast to pull it off. The company picked Haleyville because it was already working on an exchange there, so it was easy to install the system. It took
Marker is in front of the CVS store. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 19, 2020
4. Marker is in front of the CVS store.
The CVS replaced the Haleyville Police Department building, where the red telephone that rang when 911 was dialed was located.
less than a week.
(Submitted on February 6, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.) 
 
Additional commentary.
1. Names of the wire-line telephone company that serves Haleyville
Alabama Telephone became Continental Telephone in 1975, General Telephone (GTE) in 1991. Two years later it became Alltel. In 2000 it became Verizon and two years later it was CenturyTel. In 2010 it became Frontier.
    — Submitted February 6, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 265 times since then and 63 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week February 7, 2021. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   3. submitted on February 6, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   4. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 16, 2022