Thursday, October 3, 2013

Focus on CUC's History:

Canadian University College Celebrates 100 Years of Phone Service

President Charles O. Smith (1922-1928) had two candlestick telephones
on his desk.
In an age of instant communication devices in one’s pocket, it may be hard to imagine a time when the only contact with family, friends and businesses was by Canada Post once a week. This is how it was the first three years on the hilltop. The school installed its first telephone one hundred years ago in 1913 to serve 179 students and 14 staff. By 1926 the school had two telephones; one for the institution and one for the students.  (CUC now has just over 50 lines or "channels" as they are called in our new phone system.)

Carl Wilson, Class of 1914, developed
CUC's first campus phone system.
Despite these limitations, Carl Wilson, an alumnus of 1914, installed a line system of communication using dry cell batteries so that messages could be relayed between the main building and the dormitories. Apparently this “campus line” expanded to include residences on the hilltop. Therefore, the president’s office had two telephones, one for the campus line and the other operated by the Alberta Government Telephone Company.
A building had to be moved off the present site of the College church in 1961 to make room for construction of the first church building on campus. Among the storage items in this building were some original candlestick telephones. Dale Visger, on staff at the time, salvaged two of them and kept them until 2007 when he gave them to the archives department.

by Edith Fitch, CUC Historian and Archivist

Dale Visger found some of the original candlestick telephones in this building when it was moved to make
way for the College Heights SDA Church.

Dale Visger gave Edith Fitch two old candlestick telephones for CUC's archives.
President Hubert K. Martin (1928-1933) had an old candlestick telephone for campus calls and a "new" desk phone to make calls off campus.

It is fitting that this summer, 100 years after CUC got its first phone, the institution
installed a new phone system and a number of new phones.  This is the phone that
is now used in the president's office.

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