Gridley, Illinois: Telephone Museum of Gridley

With millions of telecom retirees (and employees in need of vacations), there can never be too many local telephone museums. Has a working plug-in switchboard that you can try.
318 N. Center St., Gridley, IL
Between Chenoa and El Paso on Hwy 24. Turn north on Center St. It's three blocks on the right in a brick building attached to the library.
Variable, call first. (Call to verify)
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Gridley Telephone Museum.

Telephone Museum of Gridley

In the little town of Gridley, IL, I stumbled across a telephone museum. The curator, Rogers Kaufman, was a long time telephone company employee and hung onto a lot of artifacts he accumulated over the years. He's also the official tour guide of the place (all two rooms of it!) and gave a very interesting narration throughout.

One of the coolest things is an old switchboard next to a wall of numbered phones. You crank one of the phones, the switchboard lights up, he plugs in the cords accordingly, and rings another phone on the wall which someone else can answer. We've all seen it in movies, but it was pretty cool to see in person! He has several candlestick phones, wall phones, Jim Beam decanter phones, insulators, and other artifacts from the area.

Be sure to have Rogers tell you about the origin of the odd chandelier over the switchboard, as well as show you the turn of the century photo of a local stage play, including his 17 year old father in blackface! Rogers will entertain you with all sorts of interesting stories and inner workings of telephones.

[Christine L. Tuohy, 04/27/2006]

With millions of telecom retirees and employees in need of vacations, there can never be too many telephone museums!

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