Replacing the building destroyed in the 1918 fire, this sturdy brick box housed switchboards, operators, and maintenance crews until 1966. Cle Elum was a link on the “Old Transcontinental Lead” that connected Western Washington with the rest of the country, when copper wires were the only means of telephone communication. Until September 18, 1966, every call in or out of Cle Elum required the assistance of an operator plugging and unplugging switchboard wires inside this building. The town was the last in the Pacific Northwest Bell service area (Washington, Oregon, and northern Idaho) to install rotary dial phones. Seattle had received its first dial phones in 1924, forty-two years earlier. In recognition of that milestone, Bell donated the building and equipment illustrating the development of telephone technology from 1876 to 1970 to the Historical Society. The exhibits include models of Alexander Graham Bell’s early patents, one of the switchboards “retired” in 1966, and a working dial phone switching system.
Telephone Museum – 221 East 1st Street – Cle Elum WA 98922
OPEN Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – Noon to 4:00
FREE Admission (Donations gladly accepted!)