How telephones came to Cedar Mill
By Nancy Olson, co-author, Cedar Mill History
In the early part of the 20th century,
the growth of utilities contributed to the urbanization of Cedar
Mill. Most of these arose as a result of the residents seeking improvements
to the community. Very little evidence exists to document early telephone
service, for an example, but it did happen.
In 1901, the nearest communication point was a telegraph station in
Beaverton. By May 1902, the Beaverton Pacific States Telephone and
Telegraph Company was established with five lines. Long distance telephone
connections to Cedar Mill were available the following year.
This was very likely a simple “farmer” line extending from Beaverton
to Cedar Mill with one or two phone instruments serving the entire
community. Typical of many rural areas, a telephone was made available at
the Cedar Mill General Store for public use. Usually, the farmer lines and
telephones were purchased and installed by each customer. Magneto, or hand-crank
phones were joined to a single wire strung on trees or fences leading all
the way back to the exchange where it was connected and grounded.
In 1909, the Pacific States Company made a yearly service charge
of $15.00 to its farmer line customers. Records cannot be found
beyond 1911 when the concern was sold to a smaller utility enterprise in
Washington County. By this time, folks were beginning to discover the wonders
of the Communication Age and life was to never to be the same again.