The Trout Creek and Calderwood Telephone Company were established on August 29, 1910, with the help of George Hardes, J. S. Weidman, and Louis Anderson of the Calderwood Lumber Company. The board of directors elected in 1912 were: Louis Anderson, president; George Hardes, vice president; John Gerritts, treasurer; M. J. Clossey, secretary; and John B. Webb. There were 30 subscribers after one year's existence; the lines connected prominent farms and gave immediate communication between Trout Creek and Calderwood. Miss Flora Martin was the switchboard operator when the telephone central was located in Hardes' Store. Later, it was located in her home where she operated in until her retirement in 1959.

An organizational meeting to develop the Midway Telephone Company was held on December 15, 1957, with 18 members present. A corporation was formed and a franchise obtained. Investors were to buy shares at $10 each, a minimum of five shares.

Michigan Bell personnel gave basic instructions to Robert Godell, who had been chosen as manager. Other officers were Earl Harris, president; Fred M. Fox, vice president; Anton Maki, secretary-treasurer. Directors were Robert Godell, Guy Nordine, and Francis Collins. They also gave a week's training to Jack Kangas and Leo Manninen, furnishing manuals for doing the exacting work.

Rev. Leslie Niemi typed and mimeographed the first directories, with three digit numbers. The first day of operation was August 15, 1959. (Boy, did the young people have fun!)

Lydia Maki of Kenton was clerk and the "Complaint Department." Forty-six families had service. By February 1960 the west end of the township was hooked up.

A new switchboard and larger building came into use April 1964. This brought the party lines to only the number being called getting the ring. In 1975, Direct Distance dialing, even internationally, was made possible.

Men from Trout Creek employed by the company have been Fred Fox, Jack Kangas, Gerald Perttula, Ed Tibbitts, Nels Tahtinen, Ray Knivila, and Glenn Martz Construction Company.

The telegraph office was at the D.S.S. & A. Depot. Incoming messages were delivered by the post office.


George Hardes brought electricity to the town with the purchase of a dynamo installed in the company powerhouse and the turbine to bring electrical power to the homes and business places in town. The lights brightened when the show was over. Weidman Lumber Company and DeLaitre and Anderson companies each had their own electric lighting plants. In 1929 Wisconsin-Michigan Power Company extended their lines and services in this area; the Rural Electrification Association followed around 1940. The Wisconsin Michigan Power Company is presently named Wisconsin Electric Power Company of Milwaukee.

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Created by Lynn V. Boston. Last update 18-Feb-1997.