Miami Telephone Service in 1899

First Telephone Directory in 1902.

Figure 1: First Telephone Directory in 1902.

The City of Miami was granted telephone service in December of 1898. The Miami Telephone Company was incorporated in 1899 and began offering telephone service on February 24, 1899. The first switchboard operated out of the Red Cross Drugstore which was in downtown Miami at the corner of today’s Miami Avenue and SW First Street.

The company moved their location to 314 Twelfth Street (Flagler Street), by the time they printed their first phone directory in 1902. Telephone lines were extended to Lemon City and Coconut Grove within a few years of offering service. The company was the first to broadcast music in Miami by transmitting songs from the switchboard to subscribers who listened on their telephones.

In 1917, the Miami Telephone Company, with more than 2000 subscribers, became the South Atlantic Telephone Company. On December 31, 1924, all properties of South Atlantic Telephone were merged with the Southern Bell Company.

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Miami News headline on January 1, 1925.

Miami News headline on January 1, 1925.

Resources:

  • Tequesta Magazine: Volume Number XXVII in 1967, page 61.
  • Miami News: “Southern Bell Takes Charge”, January 1, 1925.

Photos:

  • Cover: Southern Atlantic Telephone employees on September 8, 1925. Photographer: William A. Fishbaugh. Courtesy of Florida Memory.
  • Figure 1: First Telephone Directory in 1902. Courtesy of Florida Memory.
  • Figure 2: Headline in Miami News on January 1, 1925. Courtesy of Miami News.