The Martin Telephone Line was put through Stanhope in 1893, giving the town telephone connections with the County Seat, Des Moines, and all neighboring towns. A switchboard was installed in 1902 and the line became known as the Jacobsen Line. Frank R. Jenkins and his family operated the switchboard until the death of Mr. Jenkins in 1934. It was taken over by Melford Olson, who worked in the telephone business until 1946.
At this time there were 23 lines connected to the switchboard that served twelve separate companies. They were consolidated into one company in 1946 when the company was incorporated and became known as the Cooperative Telephone Exchange. L.W. Wenkalman took over as manager on March 1, 1946, and established 24-hour service. The switchboard had 140 drops at that time and 60 more were added. Mr. Wenkalman served as manager until 1955. William Blakely was the manager from 1955 to 1958.
In January, 1958, dial telephones came to Stanhope. A block dial building was constructed to house the new dial equipment. Lowell Creger served as manager from 1958 to 1962 and Ronald Ingalmells from 1962 to 1966 at which time Joe Hanson became manager.
The business office for the cooperative was moved to new office quarters in 1967. This office is still being used as the business office. The dial office was further updated to all private lines, with all telephone lines buried and all touch-tone telephones in 1969. The Cooperative Telephone Exchange was the first exchange in the United States to have all one-party buried lines and push button phones.
Kamrar became part of the exchange in March 1969. A dial building was constructed in Kamrar to house the equipment
Joe Hanson served as manager until 1971 after which Sid Peterson served as manager until 1972, and Don Glazebrook from 1972 to 1973.
In December 1972, direct dialing came to the Stanhope and Kamrar area.
Orval Blough became manager in 1973 and served as manager until December 1985. William Blough became manager in 1986 and served as manager until 2001.
In January 1985, a DMS 10 digital multiplex system 10 was installed in both Kamrar and Stanhope offices giving the subscribers such features as call waiting, call forwarding, three way calling, and speed calling. New dial buildings were built at that time.
In 1989 Internet was available to Stanhope and Kamrar customers.
In November 1993, the DMS 10 system was replaced with Mitel GX 5000 switching equipment at Kamrar and Stanhope.
DSL Internet service was offered to customers in 2001.
In 2006 Cooperative Telephone Exchange replaced all buried cable with fiber optic cable. The switching equipment was replaced with class a 5 system to enable us for future technologies. Video services were deployed in September of 2009.
Current Board Members: Current Employees:
Marvin Ness – President Roger Anderson - General Manager
David Read – Vice President Deb Berggren – Office
Richard Heeren – Secretary Treasurer Jody Draeger - Office
Zachary Ehlert – Director Bill Murray - Technician
Greg Philbrook – Director Devin Innis - Technician
Bradley Schmidt – Director
Lannie Shepherd – Director
Nila Zanker – Director
Scott Stolt – Director