Abilene, Kansas: Museum of Independent Telephony

Part of the county museum, the collection is items from the history of telephones and telecommunications that were not controlled by Ma Bell. See the switchboard used at President Eisenhower's retirement farm!

Heritage Center of Dickinson County

Address:
412 S. Campbell, Abilene, KS
Directions:
Three blocks east of S. Buckeye Ave./Hwy 15, in the Heritage Center of Dickinson County, behind the Eisenhower Center.
Hours:
M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
785-263-2681
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Museum of Independent Telephony

When Alexander Graham Bell (and not some Italian guy) invented the telephone, his patents held back a horde of telephony wannabes for 17 years. When the rights expired, a profusion of entrepreneurs poured into the lucrative business, forming nearly 6,000 independent telephone companies. While millions toiled for the Bell System as it maintained a century of pre-Consent Decree market dominance, the "independents" continued to thrive, scraping profit from around the edges.

The Museum of Independent Telephony pays tribute to the world of the non-Bell System phone companies that connected communities in the Midwest and West. Abilene was the home of an independent, the Brown Telephone Company, which became United Telephone Company, and eventually morphed into Sprint.

The museum includes a recreation of an old telephone exchange, displays of glass insulators and a variety of vintage phones. Visitors are encouraged to touch the exhibits.

[Roadsideamerica.com Team, 11/29/2003]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Old Abilene TownOld Abilene Town, Abilene, KS - < 1 mi.
Greyhound Hall of FameGreyhound Hall of Fame, Abilene, KS - < 1 mi.
World's Largest SpurWorld's Largest Spur, Abilene, KS - 2 mi.
In the region:
Giant Dragon and Other Farm Equipment Creatures, Lincoln, KS - 40 mi.

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