This telephone switching exchange, along with associated equipment and supplies, were donated by Betty Bohn of Luck, Wisconsin. Mrs. Bohn obtained the equipment from the Frederic Telephone Company after the system had changed to direct customer long distance dial up. She gave the switch boards to the Frederic Area Historical Society in the early 1990s and the switchboards were held in storage until 2004, when the current display was developed. This exchange is a working model used in the 1950s and 60s in the Frederic office. At that time there were 24 stations and operators were at the stations 24 hours a day. The switches are numbers 5 and 6 of the 24 that were at the Frederic site. At this time Alpha Numeric telephone numbers were use. One feasible number might have been “Pennsylvania 7500”.During the 1970s, the system was converted to direct dial, a 10 digit code for telephone addresses was introduced, and the 24 switchboards at Frederic became obsolete.
Frederic had its first telephone exchange in 1903 when the Consolidated Telephone and Telegraph Company received a charter from the village to develop a telephone system. This was a magneto system requiring subscribers to “ring-up” other subscribers on their line and operators to plug local lines together and ring-up subscribers as well as ringing-up long distance services. Line men say that they often received quite a severe shock when they were repairing lines and someone rang-up another person. People who remember the days of the magneto telephone, recall listening for their ring (i.e. one long and two short rings) and all of the clicks over the line as other subscribers would “rubber-neck” on one’s call. Good old days indeed! In 1903, and for several years after, two daytime operators and one nighttime operator serviced local and long distance calls. At that time all long distance calls were routed through Pine City, Minnesota and the magneto based switches were located in the second floor of the First National Bank building in Frederic. This building still stands and houses “Curves for Women”. It is located on the North East corner of the intersection of Highway 35 and Oak Street.
The depot/museum is open on weekends and holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The season begins Memorial Day weekend and continues through leaf season in October. Tour guides are on duty. If you would like a special tour, call 715-327-4892 or 715-327-4158 for arrangements.
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We continue to seek railroad memorabilia and items as well as well as items and photos, newspapers and newspaper clippings from Frederic's past.
P.O. Box 1/210 West Oak Street • Frederic, Wisconsin 54837 • 715-327-4892 • 715-327-4158
MISSION (in part): To give recognition to those who have developed this area and remind current and future generations that everyone and everything leaves permanent "FOOTPRINTS IN TIME."
Home Of The Vikings!
110 Oak Street E., P.O. Box 567
Frederic, WI 54837