Interesting early Federal Telephone history found [Telecom]

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I remembered looking around in parts of Buffalo 20+ years ago seeing Federal Telephone manhole covers, but, for the longest time, I didn't remember where.

Then I found the original central office building Federal Telephone used along Elmwood Ave just south of Allen St, in the historical preservation district of Allentown. I was able to put it all together, I think.

Farther north along Elmwood Ave, I believe FTR had their factory, about across the street from what would become a large Curtiss-Wright aircraft component assembly facility. Perhaps FTR occupied that building before leaving for Newark, allowing Curtiss-Wright to move in.

Anyway, I found the unique rectangular manhole covers they used along Elmwood Ave. The first one I found was between Hodge St and Bryant St, just west of Buffalo Children's Hospital today:

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I proceeded south along Elmwood toward Allen and, while standing on the sidewalk, found these additional manhole covers:

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Note how dated the manhole covers are in that it was back when FTR was known as Federal Telephone & Telegraph.

I realized another irony by the time I got to Anderson Pl and noticed the Verizon central office, BFLONYEL, housing a DMS-100 since some time in the mid-'80s.

About 3/4 mile south of Elmwood Ave and Anderson Pl is Allen St, where the FTR central office must have been housed. I like the nondescript, very generic "Telephone Building" sign on the front.

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These days, the building houses the Elmwood Village Charter School, but I think back to 90+ years ago when step-by-step switches in that building must have been clacking way to the dial pulses of telephones out that way, comparing that to the effort of manual dialing of New York Telephone, where the downtown central office, BFLONYFR, wasn't even built until the late 1910s / early 1920s at best.

I was once told by a retired Pioneer working in that building that WE installed one of the longest manual switchboards running the length of the building in there. (That must be another story for some other time.)

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Curtis R Anderson
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