Verizon Ensures Telecom History Lives On Deep in the Heart of Texas
One of Two Original Alexander Graham Bell Telephones Still in Existence Are
Part of Museum Exhibit to be Donated by Company to Fort Concho Museum
in San Angelo.
SAN ANGELO, Texas, June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine years before
Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested his new invention by calling
out, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you," to his assistant, Thomas
Watson, West Texas settlers and the Fourth U.S. Cavalry established Fort
Concho to defend against hostile enemies who rode the range on horseback.
Much as Bell's invention of the telephone in 1876 changed the way the
world communicates, the formation of Fort Concho in 1867 along the
banks of the Concho River dramatically shaped how the mighty Texas
frontier was settled.
And now, thanks to Verizon, Fort Concho, 140 years after its creation,
will be the permanent home for one of the most famous telephones ever
made, along with a collection of other historical pieces of telephone
equipment, photos and memorabilia of Texas telephone pioneers who
paved a path for future industry leaders.
This Saturday (June 9), Verizon will transfer to the city of San
Angelo ownership of the antique telephone equipment and related
artifacts that make up the E.H. Danner Museum of Telephony. The city
manages the museum, housed inside former officers' quarters at Fort
Concho, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is on the
National Register of Historic Places.
Verizon Roots Run Deep in Texas
"Verizon's predecessor-company roots run long and deep in the heart of
Texas, and we're very proud of our positive, long-standing
relationship with the city of San Angelo," said Trinidad Aguirre,
senior vice president and general manager f1or Verizon Communications'
Texas division. In 2000, GTE Corp. and Bell Atlantic Corp. merged to
form Verizon, but for many years the headquarters for the then-General
Telephone Company of the Southwest was based in San Angelo. Today San
Angelo is home to more than 1,400 Verizon employees, the
second-highest concentration of company employees in the Lone Star
State. Aguirre, who began his career in 1980 as a central office
technician in San Angelo, calls the E. H. Danner Museum - named on
behalf of former General Telephone Company of the Southwest president
E.H. Danner -- a "lasting legacy to the pioneer spirit that formed our
great state and our great company."
"I am a true believer that San Angelo people have the capability to do
anything they aspire to do," said Aguirre. He will be joined by
officials from the Fort Concho National Historic Landmark, San Angelo,
Concho Valley Telephone Pioneers Association and the Fort Concho
Museum at an 8:30 a.m. outdoor ceremony at the Fort Concho National
Historic Landmark, 630 S. Oakes St., to commemorate the Verizon
donation as part of the annual Fort Concho Frontier Day celebration.
"We know the historical items that trace our industry and company's
past are in good hands, and future visitors to the E. H. Danner Museum
of Telephony will enjoy walking and talking down memory lane," Aguirre
In addition to possessing one of the two known models of Bell's
Gallows Frame telephone still in existence, the museum features other
novel items such as a Kellogg single-position manual magneto
switchboard from 1910; an 1898 solid oak hotel lobby telephone; the
Independent Telephone Pioneers Association Hall of Fame, which
features photos and biographies of former company leaders; and a
personal collection of former GTE Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer Rocky Johnson's career memorabilia. For years, Johnson worked
in San Angelo.
Verizon Investment in San Angelo Museum Tops $250,000 to Date; Museum
Assets Top $100,000 Since 1990 when the E. H. Danner Museum was
rededicated at its present location at Fort Concho, Verizon has
invested more than $250,000 to establish, maintain and operate the
telephone museum. The museum telephone equipment and related artifacts
are valued at more than $100,000, according to Verizon.
Much has changed since Bell transmitted those first well-known words
via telephone after accidentally spilling acid in his Boston workshop
and reaching out for help to Watson, who was in another room; but some
things remain the same, said Aguirre.
"In Alexander Graham Bell's day, people didn't have the convenience we
have now of picking up the phone and knowing we can speak to a friend
or family member during even the worst of thunderstorms, thanks to our
network reliability," said Aguirre. "The one constant that remains
through the years is the need for people to communicate. No matter
when or how people communicate - either by landline or wireless phone;
a local or long-distance call; an e-mail, text or video message -
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