Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Friday, November 9, 2012

Telephone Poles.....



Instead of looking for photos of people on the phone, I thought I would look for evidence that phones actually existed in our area.  Once I thought of the idea then I wondered if I knew the difference between a phone line and a power line.  I guess I really don't. This view is looking towards Murray in 1940.

I do remember in rural southern Iowa in the 60's, that our local phone poles were barely 8 to 10 feet high and they had a limited number of two or three wires on them.  They leaned a lot as the rains in Iowa would tend to wash away the soil from the base of the pole. I don't think they were buried only three of four feet into the ground. One could see them as you drove down a dirt or gravel road while traveling to town to get groceries.


My parents lived in the back of a filling station that was outside of town.  This is in the late 40's and again I don't know if these are power lines or phone lines.  I bet they are power lines,  I am really off theme with the wrong kind of poles.  But poles near a building do tell a story.


This is an old house in Osceola with one power line in view but there is a single pole in the background that probably was the phone line.  Today, most of the phone lines in Iowa are buried underground so you can't see them coming into a house.


This is a house that my grandfather built north of Murray, Iowa.  From what you can see here, I bet the house had neither electricity or telephone. I am sure it was taken in the 30's or earlier so phones companies didn't exist.


It is the 40's and my dad is standing on a street in Belgium.  There is one pole standing in the background.  Wires for something went into that house.

So I found another pole.  It is my photo of me and my three older brothers.  I even remember this pole and it was our telephone pole.  It sat next to a large ditch next to our gravel road that went past our front yard. My mom had planted flowers around it and it always seemed unnatural to have it there as the oiled tall poles didn't come from any trees that we grew in Iowa.   I am sure they came from a grove of tall pines that grew out west in the mountains or in Minnesota.



I stil don't have a visual of the first phone that I ever saw but we had a crank wooden phone that hung on the wall just on the right side of the window.  The wooden box had the black speaker phone projecting out of it  with the receiver hanging to the side of the phone.

 It was early 50's and I was too short to reach the phone and no child in the house was allowed to touch such a thing.  

There was a fuse box on the outside of the house and it was common for the lightning to travel through the lines and the fuse would need to be replaced.




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16 comments:

Peter said...

I was under the impression that all telephone poles were AT&T employees. Sorry, poor joke. In all earnest, I was surprised to hear that there are still so many electricity poles around on the East Coast (Sandy). I realize that burying them is no guarantee for uninterrupted service but you stand a better chance.
If the situation in Belgium was similar to the one in Holland, civilians did not have access to phones. All exchanges were confiscated by the Germans. So I guess the pole you see in the Belgian picture is an electricity pole.

Liz Stratton said...

Great take on the theme. I remember being very happy to see telephone (and electric) poles after a visit to Mexico. Phone and electric service wasn't always available outside the cities in the 70s. Nor was modern plumbing!

barbara and nancy said...

I don't know the difference between a telephone or power pole either. But I do know that when I bought my present house - I just loved the look of it. After I moved in, I noticed a giant pole (power or telephone) right in the front yard. I never noticed it when I was first looking at the house. Now I'm stuck with it and I hate it. But I still like my house.
Nancy

Postcardy said...

I don't know which lines are which. Looking out my window, I see quite an assortment of lines on each pole.

Karen S. said...

Oh this was such a delightful way to take our theme- with the all important link to getting that call through. I really enjoyed your photos and always like it when you include Minnesota!

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful old memories Larry. As I read through all the posts this week, it is fascinating how something as simple as a telephone (or as you rightly say, telephone wires) can give rise to such rich memories.

Bob Scotney said...

This is a really interesting way to look at the theme. I've just been outside as I know all the power to our house is underground. The only poles I can see carry telephone wires to the houses despite all the lines coming into the village being fibre optic and underground as far as the control boxes. Overhead copper wire takes over from there via the poles. Poles have become so much street furniture that we just take for granted. Perhaps I'll photograph a few.

Kathy Morales said...

What a great way to interpret the theme! I enjoyed your stories and pictures. Your parents and my grandparents both lived near a gas station in southern Iowa.

Titania said...

Larry, the poles were a very important part of the tel.line! The poles with the electric wires looked much sturdier and higher than the tel.poles. Yes, you are right in those times the children were not allowed to touch the phone; today a two year old runs to get the phone, the mobile and the IPad. It was a good idea to look for the poles.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Now this is yet another interesting twist on the prompt. I am sure I could not tell the difference between a utility or phone pole line, hmm. The photo of your grand's house in Murray with no poles could be an Amish home today. When we travel and even here we can spot an Amish home, no lines to the houses. I love that your mother planted flowers at the base of that pole.

Kat Mortensen said...

Well, I don't think there would be a need for a switchboard, if there were no poles to convey the messages.

You did a better job of sticking to the theme than I did, Larry!

Kat

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

Interesting take on the theme! I like your old photos, Iowa looks so similar to Southern Illinois where i am from and photos remind me of my photos of my parents and grandparents in the 40's and 50's.

Tattered and Lost said...

I would have so loved to have experienced one of those old crank phones. And I've always wanted one of the candlestick kind. Phones just look boring today. Everything has become a little too Dick Tracy.

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Larry, Your photos are very special as usual. Phones have changed so much haven't they? Probably in our life time we will see even more changes as they become smaller. In our house we have one of the old phones that went through an exchange with all the neighbors listening in. We also have a heavy old black phone. I always want to keep these. I love old things and everything to do with them. The POLES are going underground and will be obsolete in a few years.. Then people will look at photos such as these and wonder what those poles meant. I am glad to have lived and seen things the old way.

Karen said...

Speaking of telephones in the 50's, I can remember what a big deal it was to get a "long distance" phone call. Thank goodness for cell phones with my kids scattered from coast to coast!

Cozy in Texas said...

I found your amazing blog today.
Ann