About Lone Rock Cooperative Telephone Company
|Josh Adams||General Manager|
|Sharon Bierle||Office Manager|
|Roger P. Jensen||President|
The Lone Rock Cooperative Telephone Company is located in North Central Iowa in Kossuth County about 20 miles south of the Minnesota border.
Records show that the Lone Rock Telephone Company was formed on April 25, 1903, four years after the town of Lone Rock was platted, a group of farmers and merchants met for the purpose of providing some sort of telephone service for the town and country. Out of this meeting a stock company was formed and shares issued, with a par value of $25.00. Enough shares were sold to finance the plans and soon the telephone company had a switchboard, and lines built out in all directions for many miles. The first officers were: E. F. Tuthelt, President; G. C. Hanna, Vice President; L. C. Adams, Secretary; N. L. Cotton, Treasurer and Manager.
The first Articles of Incorporation was dated May 16, 1903. A motion was made and passed that each stock holder be charged $5.00 per year for telephone service.
Minutes of the February 8, 1908 meeting show a motion was made and seconded that the company pay the railroad fare of the manager so he may attend the State Telephone Company Meeting in Cedar Rapids.
In 1910 a lot was bought and a switchboard office built for the sum of $300.00.
On March 16, 1912, a motion was made and seconded that the proper officers be authorized to sign a contract with the Western Electric Telephone Company.
Through the years the company operated purely as a cooperative, but under the 1939 Code of Iowa the association became the Lone Rock Cooperative Telephone Company in June, 1945. The old office building had been remodeled many times and included housing for the manager and the office switchboard. Many local girls helped out at the switchboard. Through the years their pay was 10 cents an hour to $1.00 an hour.
On February 22, 1946 a special meeting was called for the purpose of meeting with Mr. Earl Grimm of Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company. Mr. Grimm gave a presentation about a switchboard, terminal cans, and rack and prices. A Kellogg switchboard was purchased.
The old office building and living quarters seemed inadequate and a fine new office building was constructed in 1958.
In March of 1966 on a Tuesday many Iowa Telephone managers were attending a meeting of the Iowa Telephone Association in Des Moines when word came in that Northern Iowa was hit hard by an ice storm and a blizzard was eminent. The Lone Rock Cooperative manager at the time was Curt Olson (1962-1967). Mr. Olson remembers that he and his wife left Des Moines immediately and fought slick roads and then snow drifts before finally arriving back in Lone Rock that evening. All power was off and most of the east and west light company and telephone poles lines were down. Power was off from Tuesday until 9:00 p.m. Saturday evening.
Some farmers in the area reported the ice on the lines 4 inches in diameter and winds of 60 mph. The temperature turned very warm the next day and although it made it more comfortable to work outdoors, it also made the roads a quagmire and the power company had to use caterpillars to drag new poles into place.
Mr. Olson drove to Humboldt and borrowed a lot of army wire from the National Guard. He strung the wire on the ground and bypassed the broken pole lines where possible. About 15 to 20 farmers were gathered to help and he had them wire some of the poles to the broken stumps to give road clearance over the intersections.
When the power was restored on Saturday evening, a few lines were turned up and gradually the telephone company was back in business. Of course, the National Guard wanted their “loaned” wire back. The company did their own engineering and a cable crew replaced the wire in April. Many families were forced to empty their freezers and take the contents to nearby towns where electricity was okay. Also, many families had no heat and were forced to move in with those that had coal furnaces or oil burners. All in all it could have been worse, but now it is just another chapter in the life of a telephone company.
In the fall of 1967 a new underground cable was buried and on July 22, 1968 an all private line was put into service. The new ITT “Step” Central office equipment was cut into service on August 7, 1967, the equipment located in the remodeled Lone Rock Cooperative Telephone Company office building and was purchased for $20,399.25.
Always looking for ways to improve service, the Telephone Company purchased automatic number identification equipment and “direct distance dialing” went into service September 17, 1968.
On July 25, 1990 a Northern Telecom DMS 10 switch was put into service at Lone Rock, Iowa.
The telephone company owns 110 miles of underground cable and serves 289 patrons.
|1903 – 1933||N. L. Cotton|
|1933 – 1942||H. J. Rice|
|1942 – 1962||Don W. Houck|
|1962 – 1967||Curtis D. Olson|
|1967 – 1977||William D. Raab|
|1977 – 1978||Albert Lubbin|
|1978 – 1996||Robert R. Strube|
|1996 – 2023||Dan Meyer|
|2023 – Present||Joshua Adams|
Although the town of Lone Rock has less than 200 people, the telephone company serves nearly 300 households and businesses in the area. The officers and directors are proud of their small, but modern telephone company and look forward to providing good service in the future.
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