The Telephone System

Lexington Progress 18 Oct 2000
Compiled by Brenda Fiddler

October 17, 1973 -
Lexington "Board" will end Monday. The Lexington exchange of South Central Bell will have no switchboard operators here next week. Monday at 1 p.m. operators here will be transferred to Jackson

And it will be the first time since April 31, 1899, that the Lexington exchange has no switchboard. That's the date of the start of Telephone service here. L.A. Mitchell, local manager, said the space at the building at 31 W. Church will be used to expand the company's switching equipment and the business office will continue to be located at 6 Natchez Trace Drive.

On the same day, coin telephones in the Lexington area will be dial operated. Long distance calls will be handled by operators in Jackson. Long distance calls for Sardis and Scotts Hill, as well as Decaturville and Parsons, will also be handled in Jackson. Our past experience has shown that the concentration of our operator forces makes it possible to operate more economically". Mr. Mitchell said. "In addition, a large operator force at one location can operate more effectively and give better service by having additional flexibility to meet peak customer demands.

Dial service was brought to Lexington March 4, 1950 and direct distance dialing, August 25, 1968.

December 26, 1973
Mrs. Blanche (Neisler) Goodwin was honored at a special ceremony upon her retirement from South Central after almost 35 years of service. Mrs. Goodwin's career began November 26, 1939 as an operator with the telephone company. She worked as an operator for telephone companies in Southern CA, Texarkana AR and Columbia SC, before coming back to Humboldt in 1945. She transferred "home" to Lexington in September 1945 and has served telephone customers her ever since. She was promoted to Service Assistant in 1947 and Evening Chief in 1948 and took over as Chief Operator of Lexington in May 1973.
Mrs. Goodwin has been active in the First Baptist Church many years. She is a charter member of the Lexington Business and Professional Women's Club where she has been very active in 1969

Yester-years --- Lexington Progress March 10, 1950
Dial System in full use here this week.. Lexington telephone users dialed away this week and telephone directories again became a "must" following Southern Bell's cut-over to a dial system Saturday night at 10:00.

Honor of making the first call on the new system went to Mayer Floyd Richardson, who called his home on Huntingdon Street just before 10:00. Last call on the old system was made at 9:59 p.m. by royal Pafford who asked operator Blanche Goodwin the correct time.

John A. McCall, former night operator for the telephone company here, flipped the switch which was the signal for the cut-over. Members of the Board of Alderman and civic clubs were represented at the cut-over ceremony. Walter E. Duncan, state manager for Southern Bell, presented the new system to Mayor Floyd Richardson who accepted on behalf of the people of Lexington. Mr. Duncan traced the growth of the Lexington office since 1899 when there were 45 telephones. In 1919 when Southern Bell purchased the system, there were 304 telephones and only 398 in 1940. In 1946 the system had expanded to 547 subscribers and on January this year it had 891. A total of 963 phones are served by the system.

Mr. Hyde announced the hours for the business office in the new building on Church Street were 9-12 and 1-4 Monday through Friday. Mrs. Earl Braden is in charge.

January 23, 1974
Telephone Company ends four, eight party lines
One of the largest expansion programs ever undertaken locally by South Central Bell was finished early this month when the telephone company completed its construction of new facilities to eliminate about 1,900 four and eight party lines in the Lexington exchange.

In addition to providing local customers better grades of service, South Central Bell Manager L.A. Mitchell said the improvement progress also provides dial-coin telephones throughout the exchange and "Zone Rates", a method of computing charges for service outside the Base Rate Area.