Rock County Telephone Company workers strike a pose in this photo taken around 1904.

Linemen for the Rock County Telephone Company pose for a group photo in about 1904.

The company was established in 1898 after Janesville businessmen put up $30,000 to get it started.

Janesville’s first telephone was installed March 1, 1878, according to the Rock County Historical Society.

The Rock County Telephone Company eventually had toll lines connecting all towns in Rock County and part of Walworth and Green counties as far east as Elkhorn and as far northwest as Brooklyn.

By 1901, the company had more than 800 telephones connected. By 1911, it had 2,240 subscribers and was advertising for more.

Phone service cost $1 a month, and rural residents could get phones for $1.50 a month.

People without phones “make unnecessary trips downtown” and “trust their luck” that they’ll never need a doctor in a hurry, the company said.

Owners of phones could call Footville, Edgerton, Evansville, Milton, Milton Junction and Orfordville for 10 cents for three minutes.

Richard Valentine—president of the Valentine School of Telegraphy—was general manager of the local phone company until 1915, according to the historical society.

On Dec. 1, 1921, the company was bought by Wisconsin Telephone Company, according to the society.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse