May 13-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: May: May 13-01
Historic Telephone Milestone    ...scroll down to share comments
from the MTU Archives

Charlie Hopper, in the U.P. on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 09:32 am:

Happy Mother's Day !

If you lived in Keweenaw back in 1966, perhaps you remember the day telephone service switched from the old "operator assisted" dialing to the automated 7-digit method. As a junior high student living downstate, I vaguely remember calling Gitche Gumee to speak with George Bryan about the summer schedule. Normally we dialed the operator and asked for Calumet, Michigan, then gave a 5-digit number for the camp in Eagle River. In '66 I recall the operator mentioning that the U.P. had joined the space age, and you could actually dial direct! What a concept!

We appreciate the staff at the MTU Archives for finding this bit of history, and especially Erik Nordberg for scanning the front and back of the book.

Speaking of Michigan Tech staff, it was 3 years ago today that Dean Woodbeck appeared on the Pasty Cam. His weekly news for MTU Alumni is still a must-read on the 'net. We appreciate the thousands of MTU Alums who visit Pasty Central every week, pushing our "hit count" to more than 2,000,000 (two million+) per month.

Dean Woodbeck, Ace of Cyberspace
Visit to the Spruce Goose
Whether you attended MTU, lived in the Copper Country, or just visit in the summer, we would love to hear your Mother's Day memories. Thanks for stopping by Pasty Central!
By Judy, MI on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 09:47 am:

Charlie, thanks for the bit of nostalgia! I was a telephone operator in Houghton and was there the night we switched to direct dial!I still have my old head phones.

By Florida on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 12:55 pm:

Not all of the Copper Country lacked modern equipment. I remember when we got our first phone. I was in the sixth grade so that would have been about 1946. I went home for lunch from school and there was this beautiful black phone. I promptly called my best friend whom I had just left moments before. Even at that time Lake Linden had the dial system. However I remember when I called my married sister who lived in South Range we had to dial the Houghton operator and ask for 596J4, please. The please was like part of the number, 596J4, please.

By susan hooker on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 06:27 pm:

When did Houghton go to dial? Seems like about 1960. Anyone know?
It seems a bit surreal to be discussing when our phones went to dial on the internet. The back of the phone book encourages keeping in touch by long distance calls and now we just log on and chat and send pictures etc. We don't even have to know where each other are to get in touch. Amazing!!

By RJW on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 11:16 pm:

Hello Judy. from Bob who worked out in Point Mills with your mother.

By Judy, Mi on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 10:56 am:

Susan, your right. Houghton went to dial the spring of 62!

By Judy, MI on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 11:42 am:

Susan Hooker, Your right, Houghton went to dial in 1962!

By Sandy, MN on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 03:22 pm:

I vaguely remember a three-digit phone number in Houghton. Imagine when my new licenses plates came in the other day and the three digits were that phone number. Going to a direct dial seven-digit system seemed so advanced. Keep up the good work guys.

By Cookie-Fenton, Mi. on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 08:47 pm:

Can't remember breakfast, but I remember 1283 was our phone number. It was so nice to call the operator, when she was Kay Sylvester( a good family friend) and she knew who I was and always asked about my family. A much simpler time.

By nancy sterling heights, mi on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 10:00 pm:

what memories you triggered: I remember staying at my grandmother's in Woodside in Dollar Bay. my dearest friend Donna lived there as well. My grandmother and her family shared a "party line". I can remember well saying "W on this line please" to call her. i seem to recall that i had to hang up , wait for the phone to ring and WAHHH-LA--there it was--a connection. this all happened in the '50's(GROAN............)that's the 19 50's!!

By Bondo MI. on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 10:53 pm:

Don't feel to bad up there. Down here (Jackson County) there was a phone company in a small town that had the crank phones till I think 1971. They were bought out by an other phone company and went from the 3 number you had to ask for to 7 numbers you had to dail.

By Brian Juntikka Florida on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 10:37 pm:

Lake Linden had the first modern dial telephone system installed in 1941. Chassell was the next town with dial phones around 1948. In 1961, Lake Linden telephones got a new prefix "296" and Chassell got a new prefix "523". Houghton-Hancock cut over to dial on July 1, 1962, using the central office code "482". Dial service in the Donken exchange began on December 19, 1965 with the "288" exchange replacing crank phones in Toivola, Donken, Twin Lakes and Winona. The last crank phones in the Copper Country were replaced by new dial service in the Keweenaw (289) exchange in May of 1966 - at the exact moment new dialing equipment replaced telephone operators in Calumet exchange (337).

The last place in the U.P. to get dial telephone service was St. Igance in 1974.

By lake linden michigan on Monday, June 7, 2004 - 03:37 am:

how very funny. :-) i didn't know any of this. what a great history lesson:)

By Brad on Monday, June 7, 2004 - 02:40 pm:

As the family story goes, the example for dialing a local "296" number in the "early" fourties became my grandparents actual number {5201} in the "Late" 40's .If someone has a phonebook with the dialing instructions of the period I would like to check that out ..

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