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Lakedale Telephone Museum
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
February 7, 2005
Sandy Miller 

On Monday, February 7, 2005, fourteen members of the Annandale History Club met with Sandy Miller, Administrative Assistant to the President and Human Resources person at Lakedale Telephone Company in Annandale.  Sandy has been with Lakedale fifteen years. 

Lakedale Telephone Company has been serving the area since the turn of the century.   John Bishop is the owner of Lakedale.  His father, Morlan Bishop, purchased the company in 1946.  The communities served by Lakedale are Annandale, South Haven, Maple Lake, Montrose, Waverly, and Paynesville.  There are presently 91 employees at the company.  There are 22 companies under Lakedale offering paging, cellular, PCS, fiber optics, sales, video, cable TV, etc.  A new area for the future will be broadband.  Their motto is "Do more for less and do it well."

Sandy started out with a brief history of the telephone.  The concept of turning sound into electrical currents to send out in a wire started in England with Sir Charles Winston.  Professor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) is credited with the invention of the telephone in America in 1876.  Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland and moved from London to Canada just above New York in 1870.  He started a school for the deaf in Boston in 1872 when he was 25 years old.

Bell hired Thomas Watson in 1875, and the two of them conducted experiments in a garage.  In June of 1875, Bell said the famous words, "Watson, come here; I want you," and the telephone was invented.  At age 29, Bell wrote the patent and filed it February 14, 1876, just a few hours before another person, Elisha Gray, filed a similar patent.  The patent was issued to Bell March 7, 1876.  The first telephone company (the Bell Telephone Company) started July 9, 1877.

Lakedale's Telephone Museum There are approximately 400 antique phones in the Lakedale Telephone Museum.  About two years ago [in 2003] a collection of old telephones became available for sale.  Robert Lindell of Buffalo, Minnesota, had been collecting them since he was 11 years old, and he wanted them to stay as a collection, not sold individually.  He also wanted them displayed so that people could view them.  John Bishop jumped at the chance to purchase the collection.  A special room was set up to display the telephones, switchboards, etc.  The telephone museum is available for small group tours.  Groups of school children and civic groups have toured the museum.  The members of the Annandale History Club enjoyed looking at the old phones.