Telephone History in Baker County, Oregon


     S. A. Heilner is reputed to have established Baker's first commercial telephone as a connection between his business office and the wool and shopping warehouse. In 1898, the Canyon City Telephone Company opened an office in Baker, but soon sold to the Inland Telephone Company, which was connected to Walla Walla, Spokane and Portland.

     The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph purchased the Inland in 1900, and later became the Pacific Northwest Bell.

     The 1921 Directory of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, Bell System, lists their Agents and Managers and the telephone numbers of their solicitors in Baker, Grant and Harney Counties. The directory also gives the names of the other telephone companies in these counties.

    Mrs. William Thompson was the Agent in Durkee, Oregon, serving nearby ranches, some of Weatherby, Rye Valley, and the Rainbow Mine at Cake, Oregon, who's 'phone number was 2-F23. Bourne had two telephones: Eastern Oregon Light and Power Co. Sub Station, (1-F32), and J. N. Gambs, (1F31); Hagen and Nelson were Toll Stations with Copenhagen Bros. as Agents. Haines was served by the Haines Telephone Company; Halfway by the Pine Telegraph System; and Hereford, by the Juniper Telephone Co.

     Huntington's Manager was Catherine Leete; Keating, (Toll Station), D.C. Reeds, Agent; Malheur-Baker County Telephone Co.; the Medical Springs Telephone Company; McEwen, (Toll Station), C.S. M'Connell, Agent; North Powder, Miss Lelia Metcalf, Agent; Pleasant Valley, (Toll Station), Frank Wright, Agent; Richland, the Pine Telephone System; rock Springs, (Toll Station), David S. Grover, Agent; Sparta, (Toll Station), J.A. Wright, Agent; Sparta Butte, (Toll Station), W.E. Palmer, Agent; Sumpter, Mrs. Gertrude Young, Agent; Weatherby, (Toll Station), C. Metsker, Agent; and Whitney, F.A. Shenfield, Agent.

"Looking for business? Reach Our - Telephone . . . Use the Bell."

Telephone Books Reveal History

     A 1921 Pacific and Telegraph Co., Bell System Telephone Book, saved by Mrs. John (Hazel) Bates, reveals interesting facts about Baker: Baker Fire Department . . . Call 0; Police, West of Fourth Street. . . Call 605; Police, East of Fourth Street . . . Call 609.

In 1921; The Basche-Sage Hardware Co. was located at 1825 Main; The Baker Hotel was at Main and Court Streets; Bernard Baer Grocery was at 2009 Main St.; there was a Biethan Furniture Company at 2007 First St.; Dr. Roger Biswell, Sr., office in Sommer Bldg. and resided at 2405 Estes Ave.; The Natatorium's 'phone number was 363; A. L. Denney Co. had the Dodge Dealership at 1714 Main St.; the Louis Levinger Rexall Store, 'phone 33, guaranteed Photo Finishing work, and sold Victrolas and Victor Records, and Cheney Talking Machines.

     The Baker Garage, owned by Southard & Shinn and located at 1780 Washington Ave., sold Hudson, Buick and Essex automobiles and Acason trucks; Jessie A. Hoskins, vocal music teacher, was living at 2219 Second Street; and Dr. H.J. Horton, dentist, resided at 2880 Second St.

     The Hub Grocery was located at Third and Center Streets; A.L. Denney Co. represented the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Sales at 1714 Main, while the Pence Motor Co. sold "The Universal Car", Ford and the Fordson Tractor, at 2380 Center, (Broadway)

Among the Doctors in the Baker Clinic, located at Second St. and Auburn Ave. were Dr. Carl G. Patterson, Dr. C. J. Bartlett, Dr. C. E. Barton, Dr. G. G. Gordon, and Dr. C. L. Blakely.

     Dr. J.W. Huff had his offices in the brick Sommer Building, (now Shangrila), and Dr. Thomas J. Higgins and Dr. A.H. Hixon had their offices in the Citizen's National Bank Building.


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