Telephone Co. traces roots to 1916
The Margaretville Telephone Co. is in the process of being sold, as detailed in a front page story. Following is a short history tracing the expansion of the company.
The Margaretville Telephone Co. was started in 1916 when John A. Birdsall purchased from the Bell system the local exchange. Three years earlier, the local phone exchange, with seven subscribers, was located on the Lockwood home (later the site of Kelly’s Hotel).
At the time that Mr. Birdsall purchased the exchange there were 13 subscribers and 17 telephones. The new owner moved the business to rooms above the Margaretville Hardware Store.
In 1919, the switchboard and office were relocated to the Birdsall home on Swart Street. The company’s operations were expanded again in 1920 with the purchase of the Andes switchboard from John Brice.
Lillian Birdsall took over the operation of the business following her husband’s death. In 1938, her son, Sheldon A. Birdsall, began managing the company and he took over ownership when his mother died in 1943.
By the time Mr. Birdsall began management duties, the company had 425 subscribers. It was during this period that new lines were built extending to New Kingston, Union Grove, the Barkaboom, Kelly Corners and Shavertown.
By 1948, the company served nearly twice as many subscribers as when Sheldon Birdsall took over.
The company was incorporated in 1955. Seven years later, Mr. Birdsall realized a longtime dream with the opening of a new and completely modern office on Swart Street. By this time, MTC had grown to more than 1,400 subscribers who were served by 5,000 poles stretched across 185 miles of pole line and carrying 840 miles of aerial wire.
Following Mr. Birdsall’s death in 1962, his wife, Madeline, continued to operate the company as its president. Operation of MTC eventually was assumed by Mrs. Birdsall’s son-in-law, Keene Roadman, who ran the company until 1974. Following his death, Keene’s wife, Dawn, took over the operation for two years until her son, Larry, was named president.
Larry Roadman served as president until several years ago when he was named chairman and chief executive officer. Also at that time, Doug Hinkley, longtime general manager, took over as president and chief operating officer.
Mr. Roadman and Mr. Hinkley technically retired from the company in January but continue to serve as consultants during the sales process. Glen Faulkner, a longtime employee, began serving as general manager at that time.
Today, the company has 4,100 telephone customers, 2,600 cable subscribers, 2,000 Internet customers and 600 cable phone customers.