The Ligonier Telephone Co. mural depicts the old switchboard. Harry Inks started the phone company in one of the little offices on 2nd Street – which is the street where this mural is painted. At that time, he made his own telephones to sell. He built his first telephone in an upstairs bedroom in their family home. His daughter, Louise Inks, delivered the phone bills on her bicycle. Among the company’s first accomplishments was the establishment of a long distance line between Ligonier and the Noble County seat of Albion – 12 miles away.
Among the early phones was the phone that was attached to the wall with a crank on the side. Each phone owner had a ring – for example, long and a short ring or two short rings and everyone on that line in the county could listen in on their neighbors’ conversation.
In 1919, the phone company relocated into the building which is now Dr. Stone’s office. Telephone operators at that time earned $25 per month. A relief operator received $12.50 per month. Many ladies from Ligonier were telephone operators: Erma Gates, Thelma Holden, Norma Hite, Lillian Brandeberry, Nadja Horne, Erlis Rex, Vivian Hayden, Linda Gunder, Eva Sandlin, Hazel “Nick” Kurtz, Maureen Black, Mable Ramsby and Bernice White. Do you remember others?
Ligonier is very unique in having a home-owned telephone company which along with our telephone; they offer 100% digital television and high speed internet.