The Dexter Mutual Telephone Company began service in 1902, financed by the sales of shares for $25 each. A quarterly service charge was assessed each member–$1 for resident phones, $1.25 for businesses.
The building that housed the old switchboard and living quarters for the manager was built sometime between 1908 and 1911.
When we lived on Old Creamery Road, our number was 5211 and our ring was “four shorts.” Yes, a party line with several other neighbors.
When there was a fire or other emergency, “Central” would just keep ringing on the line to get everyone’s attention, then when enough people were listening in, she’d relay the information.
The local exchange operated as a mutual company until 1960, when it was sold to the Central Iowa Rural Telephone Company. The summer of 1961, a new building (which housed the new automatic equipment) was built just north of the telephone office.
Dexter got a new dial phone system on May 8, 1962, with New Kellogg K-60 Crossbar Terminal Equipment, fully-selective ringing, automatic time cut-off, and colored phones available.
History of Dexter, Iowa–1968 Centennial book, pages 32-33; miscellaneous newspaper clippings.