Telephone service in the Gridley area dates back to the 19th century. The original automatic magneto dial system installed was manufactured by the National Automatic Telephone Co. of Chicago. It began operation in the summer of 1900, providing dial service to about 60 customers in the village. Telephone service was interrupted in May 1901 by the Great Gridley Fire, which destroyed the entire business district including the telephone company switch and building. A new Stromberg-Carlson switchboard was installed and connected to the eight existing rural switcher lines and all the village lines.
On January 7, 1920, Gridley Telephone Co. was incorporated. A new two-position magneto switchboard was purchased in 1920. The Gridley board was installed alongside a switchboard operated by Consolidated Switchboard Co. On October 1, 1923, the Gridley Telephone Co. switchboard began serving the Meadows Central Telephone Co. Both companies continued to provide service to people in and around Gridley until a December sleet storm downed all the telephone lines in the area. The extensive damage caused by the storm resulted in the demise of Consolidated Switchboard Co. All the rural and village lines were then brought together into one switchboard at Gridley Telephone.
In 1946 a new common battery switchboard was installed. By the late 1960's, Gridley operated one of the few remaining manual switchboards in the nation. Ownership of the Gridley Telephone Co. changed in 1970 when Charles Hoobler, Sr. retired after fifty years as manager. Rogers Kaufman, a Gridley High School graduate, purchased controlling interest in the firm.
In 1971, a complete system rebuild began. All the aerial wire was replaced by new buried cable. The old building was taken down, and a new structure was built at the same location, 108 E. Third St. In July 1972, Gridley Telephone Co. cut over a new ITT PC32 crossbar switch to become the first company in Illinois to provide all its customers one-party tone dialing telephone service In September of 1983, the Gridley Telephone Co. purchased an IBM Series One minicomputer to assist in billing customers. The digital computer entered the Gridley Telephone Co. switching world on February 23, 1985. On that date, a Northern Telecom DMS10 switch was cut into service at the central Illinois company. The new switch further improved the quality service being provided to the area residents.
Today Gridley Telephone offers an abundance of products and services for your telecommunications needs. Easy access, great options, fast speed, and competitive prices all at your fingertips. Gridley Telephone’s affiliate GridCom offers High Speed internet Access and Long Distance service. Another Gridley Telephone affiliate, Gridley Cable, provides video services to the Gridley Telephone serving area.
Gridley Telephone is now a part of the Signal Telcom Partners family. The Signal Telcom family companies continue to operate independently; maintaining their local brands, management, customer service and the sense of community. Gridley Telephone continues its commitment to their communities to provide their customers the highest quality communication services and keep them connect to the world.