“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cleburne in Johnson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Pioneer Texas Telephones

Near site of

Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker image. Click for full size.
By J Frye
1. Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker

The first telephones in Texas, in 1878, connected the "Galveston News" with the home of its publisher, Col. A. H. Belo. Galveston also had the first exchange, 1879, and first long-distance line, which ran to Houston, in 1883.

Cleburne phone service began 1882 when Automatic Telephone Co. opened. In 1897 Southwestern Telegraph & Telephone Co. (which later joined Bell System) started another firm. It built city's first long distance line, 12 miles to Alvarado junction. Monthly rates were $2 to $3. About 1904, the Automatic Telephone Co. installed some of first dial phones in U.S. - fifteen years before they were used successfully elsewhere. But in 1912, problems forced the Automatic Telephone Co. to close.

Near turn of century, rural areas often used barbed wire fences for phone lines. Even urban homes shared party lines, each one having its special "ring". Circuits joined a main switchboard manned by one operator -- "Central" -- the hub of local news. "Central" always knew where to find town doctor and was a clearing house for funeral plans. The unemployed could ask her who needed workers; she advertised by ringing all
Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker image. Click for full size.
By J Frye
2. Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker
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phones to read announcements. Many small towns regretted losing her services when dial phones came into use.

By 1966, Texas had 4,474,722 telephones, 134 companies.

Incise: Early Travel, Transportation and Communication series erected by the Moody Foundation.
Erected 1967 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 4035.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1878.
Location. 32° 20.919′ N, 97° 23.069′ W. Marker is in Cleburne, Texas, in Johnson County. Marker is at the intersection of North Robinson Street and East Wardville Street, on the left when traveling north on North Robinson Street. The marker is in front of an AT&T office (4.9.21). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cleburne TX 76031, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Church of the Holy Comforter (within shouting distance of this marker); Johnson County Courthouse (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); General Patrick R. Cleburne (about 800 feet away); Cleburne Town Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Colonel Middleton T. Johnson (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yellow Jacket Stadium
Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker image. Click for full size.
By J Frye
3. Pioneer Texas Telephones Marker
(approx. 1.1 miles away); First Baptist Church of Godley (approx. 10.8 miles away); Duke Cemetery (approx. 12 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cleburne.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 7, 2021, by J Frye of Fort Worth, Texas. This page has been viewed 36 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 7, 2021, by J Frye of Fort Worth, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Higher resolution photos, including both close-up and farther away photos with the marker and the surrounding area together in context. • Can you help?

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May. 14, 2021