Images of the past: Monterey calling...

Before cellphones were commonplace in Davis County, before push-button telephones, before rotary-dial phones, telephone operators connected every phone call at several switchboards in the county. In the case of Monterey, it was located in the “switchboard house” — a small house at the southeast corner of the intersection of two main roads through the village.

Operators were elected for a year. The first switchboard, shown above in about 1912, shows Musa Barnes at the ready to connect the next caller. Over the years, those who were early switchboard operators included Mrs. Sarah Faist, Musa Barnes, Charley and Sophia Johnson, and Alta Henson (Evans), my grandmother. Some of the later operators were Mrs. Inez Smith and daughter Lois, Bert and Lottie Spurgeon, Elmer McClurg, Lester and Eunice Veatch, Opher and Wanita Smith, Nellie Brunk, Ralph and Edna Henson, and Harry and Dorothy Jones. In 1929, the telephone company voted to upgrade the switchboard in Monterey. At the time, there were about 90 patrons.

The arrival of telephones was an important step forward for Davis County, allowing folks to talk with people and businesses down the road or across the county. Telephone service was one of the major advances in the early years of the 20th Century — as were graveled roads and paved highways. When rural electrification arrived in the 1930s, the transformation of life on Davis County farms continued, bringing all the modern amenities enjoyed by the residents of Bloomfield, such as lights and the radio.

—Rudy Evans |