4 minutes | Apr 14th 2021

When Telephones Arrived in the Northwoods

Modern telecommunication systems provide the means to contact friends, relatives, and businesses whenever and wherever we want, but historically this is a recent development. New electronic communication systems often had a dramatic impact on communities, and this can be seen in the Northwoods. The modern cellphone was invented in 1973 but was not commercially available before the 1980s, and not widespread until new cell tower construction made service generally accessible to rural areas. Before that, people relied on landlines for means of communication. The telephone itself was invented in 1876, and the Bell Telephone Company the year after. The Wisconsin Telephone Company was founded in Milwaukee in 1882, and telephone service quickly extended across the southern part of the state but not to the largely unsettled Northwoods. Telegraph service, which was the more proven technology, arrived as soon as towns and lumber camps were established, but telephone service had to wait a couple
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