My own recollections:
I can remember that we had the old crank phones in Bayfield till sometime
into the 1970's, when the locally run phones were replaced by a modern
provincial telephone company (Maratime Tel & Tel?). Some hated
to see the old-fashtioned phones disappear, but mostly we were excited
to get fancy new "dial" phones. The entire communtiy had been on
one line. I would pick up the phone and make five short cranks--heard
as five short rings in every household of Bayfield--and my grandmother
Randall from a mile up the road would answer, as her number was "11 ring
4." We were on line 11. If I wanted to talk to my grandmother
Irish out in Afton, that was another matter, as she was on line 16.
To get her, you held down a button on the side of the phone box and you
turned the crank, but this time the bell would be muted, and "central"
would answer, an operator located in nearby Heatherton. I would ask
her to please get me 16 ring 32, for which she would patch me into line
16 and ring for me 3 long rings followed by 2 short rings. Sure enough,
grammy or grampy Irish would answer the phone. Now everybody in Bayfield
AND Afton could eavesdrop on your conversation, and to be sure, there was
lots of listening in. On occassions when there was an emergency such
as a fire, someone might get on the phone and ring, ring, ring......one
very long ring until enough people answered to get out the word.
As far as I know, the residents of Afton and Bayfield are still listed
in the phone book under "Heatherton," the location of the old switchboard
for the local companies. This has caused confusion on numerous occassions
for people trying to "look us up," as we would never think to mention that
we live in Heatherton!
This document is divided into two long lists: Privately-Owned Telephone and Telegraph Companies and Mutual Telephone Companies Under the Rural Telephone Act. The following two are listed under Mutual Telephone Companies: