Copperopolis in Calaveras County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Present site of one of the last family-founded and-still-operated-by-that-family phone companies in America. Founded by Jim Tower, who strung his first telephone wires in 1895 tacked along posts of barb wire fences, earning himself the colorful nickname, “Barbed Wire Jim.” In 1900, Jim was franchised with Alexander Graham Bell to do business with the Bell system.
Barb Wire Jim was born in nearby Salt Springs Valley in 1879, having been midwifed by Madame Felix herself. In 1909, Jim married one of his operators, Laura Hazelquist. Barb Wire Jim died in 1936. His wife ran the company until she was succeeded by their only child, Howard. The company is now run by Barb Wire Jim’s grandson, also Jim, but not “Barb Wire.”
Erected 1999 by Matuca Chapter No.1849, E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1895.
Location. 37° 58.702′ N, 120° 38.302′ Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 513 Main Street, Copperopolis CA 95228, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Copperopolis (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Corner Saloon (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Copperopolis (about 500 feet away); Congregational Church (about 500 feet away); Copperopolis Historical Plaza (approx. 0.2 miles away); Copperopolis Armory (approx. ¼ mile away); Thomas McCarty (approx. ¼ mile away); Copperopolis Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Copperopolis.
1. Madam Felix
Josephine Felix was a rancher and way station operator, offering travelers in the area a place to rest and get supplies. Josephine also performed the duties of midwife for birthing mothers.
— Submitted June 8, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 8, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,705 times since then and 74 times this year. Last updated on July 30, 2012, by Michael Kindig of Elk Grove, California. Photos: 1. submitted on June 8, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. 2. submitted on June 9, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.