Auburn, Kentucky

Home Auburn Corporation Genealogy Industry Retail Industry Service Industry Civil War Burnett Banking





History of Auburn's Telephone




Blakey Helm, a native of Auburn and the son of Dr. & Mrs. T. O. Helm dictated the following history, in 1957, of the telephone in Auburn.  At this time he was an attorney in Louisville.




Prior to 1902, the only telephone service in Auburn, Kentucky, other than the long distance telephone located in Aull's Drug Store, was a private line between Dr. T. O. Helm's office and his residence. He had this line when he lived on Lincoln Street, and later when he lived on Main Street in Auburn.

About the summer of 1902 Dr. T. O. Helm, Professor Charles E. Bates and Professor T. J. Pilant organized a corporation for the local telephone service in Auburn. Each of these men had an equal interest in the new company. The company contracted for long distance telephone service with the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company of Nashville, Tennessee.

At the end of the school year in June 1903, Professor Pilant left his school to teach elsewhere. His interest in the company was purchased by Blakey helm, who was then attending Auburn Seminary, and who worked for the Telephone Company as a collector of the monthly rentals, as linesman when the service required merely the use of a long pole to straighten out the wires, and as substitute telephone operator, particularly at night and in holiday periods.

In the spring of 1904 the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company bought out the Corporation and took over the operation of these lines.







According to the Auburn News in 1951: "Byron D. Williams and his wife Charlie E. came to Auburn in 1905, where they were engaged in the dry goods business for many years: Later Mr. Williams bought the Auburn Telephone Company and also held an interest in coal mines at Mannington."






This is a picture of the Telephone Company offices in the early 1950s. It was located on Pearl Street, Auburn. At this time it was known as the Southern Continental Telephone Company. These offices were later remodeled and were used  as an addition to the office of firstly Dr. Charles Wood and later by Dr. C. V. Dodson and later again by Dr. Dewey Wood. Dr. Dewey Wood retired from medical practice on December 31, 2004

OldTeleOffice.jpg (332431 bytes)




The Southern Continental Telephone Company, which was owned by a holding company in Chicago allowed the telephone facilities to be run down.


The Logan Rural Telephone Co-op was incorporated in 1954.


In the following years the Co-operative formally obtained title to the Southern Continental exchanges in Auburn, Adairville, Lewisburg and in 1956 the Dunmore Telephone Company was purchased. Later in the 1960s Rochester Exchange was added.


Mr. Marion Simpson was appointed manager, under whose direction three dial exchanges were built allowing access to dial instead of the manual telephones.


In 1957 Grover A. Corum was appointed manager to succeed Mr. Simpson.


The Logan Telephone Co-op occupied these buildings [the old bank building and the milk plant building] until they moved to their custom built facility on Cemetery Road.

City_Hall.jpg (395472 bytes)


Other achievements of the Co-op are its involvement with other telephone companies to form Bluegrass Cellular in the 1980s.  In the 1990s it  became an Internet Service Provider.

The current (2005) manager is Mr. Greg Hale, who was appointed to this position in 2003. He worked with the company since 1994. Mr. Hale replaced Mr. Clint Quenzer, who joined Logan Telephone in 1997. Mr. Quenzer retired after spending more than 46 years in the telecommunication industry.







Logan Telephone Cooperative

The Logan Rural Telephone Co-op was incorporated in 1954. The Southern Continental Telephone Company was owned by a holding company in Chicago and had permitted the facilities to run down. When they applied for a rate increase with almost no improvement in service, The Auburn Rotary Club appointed W. Gaston Coke to represent them and the town of Auburn before the Public Service Commission and protest the increase. J. Granville Clark, Russellville Attorney, was in charge of the legal work.

- With a successful case before the Public Service Commission, and the open knowledge obtained in the hearing that there could be no improvement in service under the existing set-up, Mr. Coke began work to organize a rural Telephone Co-op.

- Three hard years of attempting to get sign-up paid off with the incorporation in 1954 and a loan application to REA (Rural Electrification Association). This was approved in late 1955 and the Cooperative formally obtained title to the Southern Continental exchanges in Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg. The Dunmor Telephone Company was purchased January 1, 1956.

- Mr. Marion Simpson was appointed manager and under his direction the three dial exchanges were built and outside plant facilities installed with the proceeds of the $743,000 REA loan. This permitted 1026 dial telephones to serve the area instead of approximately 700 manual telephones and also permitted extended area service (free service) among all the communities of Logan County. Service was limited to 8 parties on a rural line.

[Insert from the News-Democrat]

“Logan Telephone Co-Op Certain; Manager Hired
Public Service Commission Approves Entire Plan and Rates

All the “doubting Thomases” who did not believe that the Logan County Rural Telephone Co-op would not be a reality may now pull off their “wait-and-see” clothes and get on the band wagon.

During the past few days, the Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved the purchase of Southern Continental Telephone company properties at Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg, and Co-op officials have employed a manager.

Action taken during the week means that the Co-op will exercise its option before December 31 to buy the Southern Continental properties, and will begin the actual construction of the new modern county-wide dial system within a few weeks.

In fact, Gaston W. Coke, president of the Co-op, said that the organization may be in business by the first of December.

Marion Simpson, 44, of Hopkinsville, who has been with the Pennyrile Rural Electric co-op for the past nine years, is the first manager of the Logan Telephone Co-operative.

Temporary offices for Simpson have been set up in the rear of Prather Price’s barber shop in Auburn, and the new manager announced that he would soon begin holding community meetings so that every family will have an opportunity to get telephone service from the first day that the new dial system goes into operation.

Simpson, a native of Christian county, received his formal education at Crofton High School. He was a refrigerator and air conditioner engineer at DuPont plants for 12 years before going with the Pennyrile organization.

The new manager said he would not move his family to Logan County until after the school year is out. The Simpson's have two girls, 18 and 11, and a son, 21. The oldest girl is a senior at Hopkinsville.

President Coke commented to the reporter that the ‘next big story you will have about the new telephone system will be when we let the contract for construction, which we hope will be sooner than many think.”

On June 1, 1957,    -  Grover A. Corum, former assistant County Agricultural Extension Agent in Logan County and Current County Agent of Boyd County, was appointed manager to succeed Mr. Simpson, who had resigned.

 - The Logan Rural Telephone Co-op was a dream come true. Many people gave of their time and efforts to get it established.

- I winning their case before the Public Service Commission, the Rotary Committee found out that it would be almost impossible to get telephone service out into the rural areas around the main towns of Logan County. The REA act had been amended in 1949 to include telephones and this area was investigated by the Rotary Committee.

- Coke then interested the Logan County Extension Office in the idea, and gained much aid from then – Associate County Agent Grover Corum, who aided the committee in promoting the idea throughout the rural section of the county.

- Other organizations virtually all civic and service organizations, as well as farm organizations in the county joined in backing the idea and working towards the establishment of a Co-op.

- The Telephone Division of the REA approved the Co-op project for three-fourths of a million dollars, and in January of 1956 a check for $54,458.13 was paid by the Co-op to the Southern Continental Telephone Company for the existing exchanges, right-of-ways, privileges, franchises, permits, plant, facilities and equipment.

- The Co-op entered into a sales agreement with Southern Continental in February of 1955, and a drive for subscriber membership was started in March 7, 1955.

- The total cost for dial installation for subscribers was set at $33.00 with each subscriber an equal shareholder in the Co-op.

- A $10.00 deposit was required, along with a $23.00 equity. When the membership drive started, every bank in Logan County offered to loan the necessary $23.00 for equity to any subscriber who needed such a loan for $1.00 interest in a year.

- The initial system was cut over to dial operation on May 19, 1957 with 963 main stations and 63 extensions for a total of 1026 stations. Through continued growth, expansion and demand, the Co-op grew to over 2300 members with 2720 telephones in operation by July 31, 1965.

On July 2, 1960, the Rochester Exchange was added serving a portion of Butler and Muhlenberg County. In August, 1962, the Logansport area, another part of Butler County, was added.

- The Board of Directors realized in early 1963, that the system was being overloaded and authorized a study of the calling habits. This revealed that the rural 8-party lines were being used three times more that they were designed for. This information was presented to the membership in November and December of 1963 and the Board received authorization to apply for an additional loan to upgrade service to 1 and 2 party in the base area and the 4 party in the rural areas. A loan of $1,156,000 was approved by REA and the Kentucky Public Service commission. Work began with the commitment for nearly one-half million dollars.

- Of particular interest in the growth of the Co-op was its Commercial Department. Beginning with one clerk typist typing all telephone numbers and amounts on each monthly bill and all monthly toll tickets (3000 then) sorted by hand, the progress went to a small posting machine. This, used with an addressograph, increased efficiency so that when one girl resigned the two remaining could continue the load.

- The posting machine gave way in 1959 to a modern hand operated accounting machine. Just as this was working very smoothly, the state of Kentucky imposed the 3% sales tax on all toll tickets within the state of Kentucky. Southern Bell adopted the mark-sense ticket and mechanical billing as a necessity.

- The Logan County Rural Telephone Co-op was the first telephone system in Kentucky to have maintained IBM billing in its own office with its own personnel. Later the Co-op did custom work for a neighboring telephone system.

November 23, 1964  – approved proposal of Stromberg-Carlson to provide equipment for the Auburn Central Office for $101,824.20.

April 5, 1966 – Name to change: Logan Telephone Cooperative, Incorporated.

- The Coop pays a property tax to city, county, and school districts of Logan, Butler, Todd, Simpson, Muhlenberg, Warren and Ohio counties of over $6,000 per year by 1965. The Coop had current assets of $1,311,685.34 as of June 30, 1965.

 - In July 1965, capital credits, (all savings over the actual cost of operations) were distributed to the membership. This amount was for 1963 - $7,878.07 and $9,187.12 for 1964, representing a return of 4.0 and 4.4% of gross receipts being returned.

 September 18, 1967   – Approval to contract with Stromberg-Carlson for $46,549.00 for TPS addition and modify the existing equipment to 1500 ohms.

 1957–1967:  Total stations 1,241 to 3,112

 April 15, 1968 Approval to enter a line extension contract with Edward Thomason for work in Rochester-Lewisburg areas.

 September 8, 1968  – Direct Distance Dialing in Auburn, Lewisburg and Dunmor; Adairville to be first quarter of 1969 and Logansport-Rochester to be in 1970.

June 21, 1971 – Outside plant loan of $534,000 from REA approved.

 April/May 1975 – Began billing for Salem Telephone Company.

 June 16, 1975   – Rate increase of $1.00 residential and $2.00 business. Other miscellaneous charges adjusted also.

April 4, 1980 – Manager Corum resigned as Cooperative Manager.

June 16, 1980 – Auburn outside plant upgrade to buried cable completed.

October 21, 1980 – Board selected George W. Arnold to be Manager of Cooperative.

October 21, 1980 – NTCA Insurance Plan accepted by Board to replace Blue Cross-Blue Shield Insurance coverage.

February 1981 – Lewisburg Exchange cut over to buried plant.

April 1, 1981 – Rate increase with residential to $15.00 basic and business being $22.00 basic rates.

1982 – Purchased Neal Building next to current business office.

June 21, 1982 – Adairville Exchange cut over to buried plant.

September 13, 1982 – Logansport Exchange cut over to buried plant.

November 18, 1982 – Rochester Exchange cut over to buried plant.

December 1982 – Anaconda Plant cut over with Logan Telephone Cooperative.

February 20, 1984 – T Carrier contract approved for Adairville.

June 18, 1984  – Approval of Auburn, Logansport and Rochester digital offices, Lewisburg as host office with Dunmor as remote.

November 30, 1984 – Cut over date for Auburn Central Office.

May 10, 1985 – Dunmor remote office complete to be cut over July 17. Lewisburg office overhauled and modified to accept remote. To be cut over July 19, 1985.

October 21, 1985 – All exchanges had been cut over to digital service.

November 17, 1986 – Board gave authorization to draw up contract for billing and collection with county and to concur with South Central Bell Telephone Company tariff for 911 services.

February 1, 1987 – Customer premise equipment owned by subscriber. Maintenance Care Plan offered to subscribers.

October 12, 1987 – Uniform System of Accounts installed with software.

September 19, 1988  – Cellular Radio filing in RSA #3. Five companies joining together, yet filing separately.

December 20, 1989 – Logan Telephone Cooperative, Inc. won draw for wire line side of RSA ## Cellular. To be in partnership with: Brandenburg Telephone Company, Lewisport/TDC Telephone Company, North Central Telephone Cooperative, and South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative.

1990 – Central Office upgrades for Equal Access in Adairville, Auburn, and Lewisburg. Adairville cut over 11-19-1990.

July 30, 1990 – Upon the announcement of manager George W. Arnold to retire in March 1991, the Board selected Joe Isenberg as replacement to Mr. Arnold as Manager.

November 19, 1990 – Signed contract with Kelly & Wilmore for outside plant  changes due to road moves on Highway 68-80.

March 1991 – George W. Arnold retired as Manager from Logan Telephone Cooperative, Inc.

May 20, 1991 – Fiber Optic Cable Lewisburg-Rochester routes and Auburn-Lewisburg routes completed and ready for installation to be finished by 9-23-1991. Auburn-Warren County line fiber optics began on 9-23-1991.

September 23, 1991   –   Board approved Strothman and Company to prepare Audit for the Cooperative in 1991.

October 23, 1991   –   Conversion date for Equal Access in all exchanges.

- Computer upgrades through the years following the first billing operations went from IBM 402 accounting machine to IBM System 32, System 34, System 36 and to latest IBM AS 400 installed in 1990.

- Logan Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is one of thirteen smallest telephone companies in the state of Kentucky. These companies have 117,245 access lines.

- Logan Telephone cooperative, Inc. is a service orientated organization working with their customers to meet the communication needs of the rural communities and also strives to make available the most modern facilities.

- Six exchanges: Adairville, Auburn, Dunmor, Lewisburg, Logansport, and Rochester are served by Logan Telephone Cooperative, Inc. They have over 5,000 customers.

- One party service is available to all subscribers with buried facilities in all exchanges. With updated central office equipment, Logan Telephone Cooperative is able to offer to their subscribers such features as: call waiting, short and long speed calling, three way calling, and call forwarding. In the near future other features will be offered: automatic call back, automatic recall, calling number delivery, calling number delivery blocking, customer originated trace, selective distinctive ringing/call waiting, selective call acceptance, selective call forward, and selective call rejection. Billing for all local and long distance service is done in house. There are at least thirteen carriers available for long distance service.

November 1993   -   Capital Credits were refunded to the membership for the first time since 1965.

October 1995   -   Dennis Wilkes was appointed as General Manager by the Board of Directors.

December 1995   -   Logan Telephone Cooperative becomes the first Local Internet Access provider in the area.

Co-op employees started the helping Hand project to help needy families at Christmas time.

1996   -   The Telecommunications Act of 1996 brought sweeping changes to the telecommunications industry. Many of these changes would have far-reaching and long lasting implications to the industry and to consumers.

-  Began a $12 million upgrade through a loan from the Rural Utilities Service to provide for future growth and high speed data service

May 1997   -   Local calling between Logansport and Rochester becomes a reality.

October 1997   -   Expanded Area Calling allows many customers to call surrounding areas for one flat monthly fee.

January 1998   -    The Education Scholarship Program was introduced to help local students further their education after high school.

April 1998   -   Logan Long Distance begins service to Cooperative members.

October 1998   -   Clint Quenzer is appointed by the Board of Directors as General Manager.

May 1999   -   Much of the 502 area code is changed to 270.

June 1999   -   Construction begins on a new state-of t-the-art headquarters building.

January 2000   -   Fears of the Y2K catastrophe had companies across the nation scrambling to upgrade computer systems.

June 2000   -   The new headquarters building is completed and opens for business.

July 2000   -   More than 500 people attended the open house at the new headquarters building.

November 2000   -   The Cooperative becomes an Authorized Agent of Bluegrass Cellular.

October 2001   -   Logan Telephone Cooperative’s high-speed Internet service, SpeedNet DSL becomes available to customers who live within approximately three miles of a central office.

2001   -            Total Operating Revenue -        $6,071,355
                        Margin Post-Tax                          $1,148.207

July 2002   -   A new telemarketing law goes into effect to create the Kentucky Telemarketing No-Call list for residential consumers.

December 2002   -   Logan Telephone cooperative becomes the first telephone company in Kentucky to offer DSL to 100 percent of its customers, regardless of their location to the service area.

2002   -            Total Operating Revenue -        $7,879,777
                        Margin Post-Tax                          $2,536,122

April 2003   -   Greg Hale was appointed as General Manager by the Board of Directors to replace Clint Quenzer who announced that he would retire on June 30, 2003.







  We welcome your comments to:
COPYRIGHT     We will be pleased if you link to our site! The material on it has been provided in accordance with the principles of free dissemination of data to the genealogical community. It is not to be used by individuals or organizations whose business is the on-selling of such data  
Web Site maintained by D