Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Heritage of the Upper Mojave Desert

1910 - Interstate Telegraph Company

Back to 1910. This was the year the Interstate Telegraph Company, predecessor of California Interstate Telephone Company, was incorporated. prior to this time, the telephone and telegraph plant had been used by predecessors of the California Electric Power Company as an internal communication system. Interstates operations began in 1912 when it acquired telephone properties in Nye and Esmeralda Counties, Nevada, and Mono and Inyo counties in California. by the end of that year, 388 telephones were in use. Telephone lines were extended to Eastern Kern and San Bernardino counties in the fall of 1912.


During 1914, the exchange of the Randsburg telephone company was purchased, together with their line from Randsburg to Mojave. Manual operated telephone service lasted until 1949, when the Randsburg Exchange was converted to automatic dial.

In approximately 1917, telephone lines were constructed from the Randsburg Exchange to Searles Station, at which point the lines connected with other private telephone facilities. A new long-distance line was built from Ridgecrest to Trona in 1947, which eventually replace the earlier line from Randsburg. The Searles Valley area received automatic dialing accommodations with the formation of the Trona Exchange, in 1951.

A public telephone was installed at Inyokern in 1921 and served as the only one available in the Indian Wells Valley until 1942, when the Inyokern Exchange was established. Automatic dialing equipment replaced the manual boards at this exchange in 1944.

Developments at the China Lake Naval Ordnance Testing Station and adjacent community of Ridgecrest necessitated the establishing of another exchange in this area. And in 1950, the automatic dial Ridgecrest Exchange was cut into service.

In early 1945, telephone lines were extended into Boron. Subsequently, in 1949, the boron exchange was formed an automatic equipment installed. The first company microwave system was can instructed at Boron linking Edwards Air Force Testing Station to the boron Exchange.

During the years 1958 1959, microwave towers were constructed at Little Lake, Inyokern, Government Peak, and Kramer Hills, forming part of the company's 237 mile microwave system which connects northern communities with the south.

The California Interstate Telephone Company was organized in 1954 and acquired the properties of Interstate Telegraph. Space does not permit recounting all of the accomplishments during the past seven years. Industrial growth in the expansion of permanent military installations in the area served by the company have occasion population increases necessitating an expansion of the company's facilities and operations. Facilities have also been added to meet the growing demand for service by tourists, as well as by rapidly expanding resort and recreation activity within the company service area.

California Interstate Telephone Company's plant increased from $7,825,000 as of March 31, 1954 to nearly $29 million as of March 31, 1961, an increase of 270%. The number of telephones increased from 11,200 to 27,800 or 148% during the same period. Growth is continuing at a tremendous rate, making the California Interstate Telephone Company one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

With a past rich in historical romance and tradition, it is obvious that the communities in Indian Wells Valley, Searles Valley, Rand District and boron area are on the threshold of an equally colorful future -- one promising unprecedented advancements, yet retaining all the unspoiled charm which is priced so much.

The family of California interstate telephone company is proud that it asks, in certain measure, then part of the development of these areas and it looks forward to greater participation in the years to come.

This history portrays, in brief form, the transition of these areas from their earliest days to the present. This company, and its efforts to cooperate with the communities it serves, hopes this booklet may be a source of enlightenment to both residents and visitors.

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Adapted from:
Romantic Heritage of the Upper Mojave Desert - A Saga of Pioneer Discoveries ... and Modern Achievements
by California Interstate Telephone Company.

ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments

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