New England Telephone & Telegraph Company

The Library owns a  portfolio that consists of two cardboard marbleized boards measuring 79×60 cm.  The various plans in the portfolio are sometimes held together with grommets, but mostly not.  The second set of plates called G1-G20 has a hand written index.  The plans are maps of various parts of the city (Lawrence, MA) detailing where Telephone conduit lines are buried and the location of telephone poles.

On May 28th, 1877 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new technology in LawrenceCity Hall.  Two years later the firm of Goodwin & Caldwell opened the first telephone exchange.  Sixty instruments were connected immediately.  The first subscribers were businesses, factories, and newspapers.  The first operators were two boys: James McCauley and Nicholas Norris.  They were also messengers for Western Union.  Swan & Knox, Boston & Northern, and the Bay State Telephone Company took over the enterprise successively.  Finally New England, Telephone and Telegraph Company took over the enterprise.  The business started in the Schaake Block, then the Saunders Block, and eventually the building on Common Street where it remained for many years. 

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