History of Snyder County Telephone System

Submitted by: Margaret Steen

In 1897 the Penn Telephone Company of Selinsgrove was founded by stockholders living in Sunbury, Selinsgrove, Middleburg and Freeburg. By the end of that year, lines had been strung from Selinsgrove to Middleburg and Freeburg; in 1900 Port Trevorton was included in the system. This local telephone system appears to have been a financial burden to its owners, for in 1900 they sold out to a larger telephone system, the Juniata and Susquehanna with most of the original stockholders dropping out of the new company. This process, by which smaller companies were absorbed into larger telephone systems, continued during the first decade of the twentieth century and the local system eventually became part of the United Telephone and Telegraph Company of Delaware.

The result of this growth was shoddy telephone service, deteriorating equipment, and eventually a competing company organized and operated by Snyder countians. In 1940 a group of men from Middleburg organized the Middlecreek Valley Telephone Company, but this company was not wholly the product of local interest. The Bell Telephone system operated to the north and east of the county and the ineptitude of the United Telephone company' S operation prevented long distance calls from reaching Snyder County. As a result, representatives of the Bell system encouraged local residents to create this new service. The Middlecreek Valley Company strung lines ahead of customer interest, reaching Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg (Union County) in 1910 and Kratzerville in 1912. As service expanded, the company slowly became financially solvent. Two telephone systems competed in the county until 1931 when the Middlecreek Valley Company finally bought out The United.

Penna Heritage Magazine Vol. V. NO. 1 12-1978 page 9-10. Taken from Article written by Donald A. Housley-"Rural Bust and Boom": Snyder County, 1880-1920.


©2000 Margaret Steen,September 2000