Old McGill Telephone Office
By Keith Gibson
The kitchen clock was slowly moving it’s hands toward the six P.M. mark, as my brother Paul and I counted down the minutes. ( For the youngsters, the clocks back then had an hour hand and a minute hand, there were no such things as digital clocks.) It was at that time that Mom was going to take us down to the Bell Telephone office to call our grandmother Hazel in Salt Lake.
The office was in a small house on the corner of main street and J avenue. There was a short space between it and the Assuras McGill Meat Market. The lady who was the telephone operator at the time was a Mrs. Munson. Her husband had been killed in a deer hunting accident and because he worked for Kennecott, the company arranged for her to live at the office with her, I believe two sons. If one didn’t work for K.C.C. they couldn’t live in the company houses. I think there was another lady either earlier or after Mrs. Munson, but I can’t remember.
At the appointed time we all piled into the 41 Chevy sedan and headed for town. Mom parked in front of the Bell office and we all jumped the high curb and went into the north side of the office. There was a small room, more like a hallway, that had a waist high railing at one end. Mrs. Munson sat at the great switchboard just over the railing. There was a phone on the east wall. Mom, told her the number. I still remember it very well, 5-7641. It was drilled into our heads whenever we were in Salt Lake. Us kids loved to watch Mrs. Munson plug in the different wires on the switchboard. It was a marvelous sight to watch the modern technology being used. Soon the phone rang and Mom picked it up and started talking to Grandma. We finally got our turn, which lasted only a few seconds as phone calls were quite expensive in those days. What a thrill it was to talk to someone hundreds of miles away. There were no Bell system phones in the McGill houses at that time. It wasn’t until the 1950s before that miracle happened. Kennecott had it’s own phone system for the big shots and the foremen. That system was connected to the NN Railway and Ruth. I faintly remember that there was a way for Mrs. Munson to connect certain K.C.C. officials to the Bell system.
All in all it was quite an experience to go thru all that process to talk with our Grandma, but we loved every precious minute and will never forget.
I have tried to find a good picture of the office. The one above is an old Xerox copy. If anyone has one they would share, I would be grateful. My mailing address is P.O. Box 1315, McGill, NV. 89318. I also have just received my newest book called Keith’s Corner. It is a compilation of 31 weekly stories that I have added more text and several have photographs. They are $20 and $5 S&H. Any other info about who worked at the office and when it was built and when it was torn down would be appreciated.