DTC - iconnectyou Mission Statement
DTC – iconnectyou’s purpose is to provide reliable Telecommunications services to Businesses and Residents of Southeast Iowa. We are committed to providing these services with the highest quality and superior customer service while continuing to develop future services for our customers. This commitment is kept alive through powerful local ownership and decision making while maintaining our Corporate Values of ‘Respect, Ethics, Trust, Knowledge, and Customer service’.
History of the Danville Mutual Telephone Company
The Danville Mutual Telephone Company of Danville, Iowa, filed articles of incorporation with the county recorder on December 15, 1901. The first officers of this corporation were: John Shepherd, President; Port Mix, Vice-President; Woods M. Irwin, Secretary; R.P. Cady, Treasurer; and F.B. Williams, Lineman. Capital stock of the telephone company amounted to $2,500.00. The business of the concern was to conduct a general telephone business in Des Moines County and adjoining counties.
The general manager and electrician, Frank B. Williams, installed many of the first telephones in the area. Subscribers paid $25 to have a phone installed, plus an annual rate. Unlike the present metallic system (two wires), the early telephones were connected by means of the ground system, or one wire. Native white oak poles, which cost 25 cents apiece, supported the lines. The term “party line” certainly applied to the early phone system, since 16-18 households usually shared a line. Donna McDonald and Ora Cresap, who later married Donna’s brother Parrot McDonald, were the first two people to converse on a Danville telephone. The first Central, or telephone exchange, was located in Frank Chandler’s home, and his wife, Edith, operated it.
By 1920 there were 456 telephone lines in use. A few rules for subscribers were listed in the 1920 directory:
- We maintain free connections with Denmark, Mediapolis, Morning Sun, and Yarmouth. All other connections, the rates will be specified by the Independent Clearing House Association. Ask operator for the rates.
- Call Central instead of depot for time.
- Rig off when through talking.
- Report all troubles to Central.
During the Depression many telephone companies took the phone out if a subscriber could not pay bills. The Danville Mutual Telephone Company asked only that subscribers in arrears pay what they could. As a result, the telephone company came out better than most other companies, since it saved the expense of disconnecting, storage, and installation.
In 1940 the United States Government bought up 25,000 acres of farm land in Des Moines County to build the Iowa Ordnance Plant (now named the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant). Part of this land was in the territory served by the Danville Mutual Telephone Company, which meant that a considerable number of subscribers were lost when it was necessary for families to move out of the plant area. The munitions plant still maintains use of the land.
One of the worst sleet and snow storms in history struck southeast Iowa on January 1, 1948. This severe ice storm disrupted service on the Danville Mutual Telephone Company by relentlessly destroying the telephone lines. The estimated cost of repairs to the lines was enough to bankrupt the company. However, the community-spirited citizens of the Danville area banded together and rebuilt the lines and restored service. Volunteers divided into crews, working in the vicinity where they lived. They set new poles and strung new wire and repaired lines to restore service as quickly as possible. Stockholders of the company were assessed for the cost of poles, wire, and other materials that were needed to repair the extensive damage. The volunteer workers – Stockholders, local farmers, town residents, and other subscribers – donated their time and labor to help save the company from possible financial ruin caused by such a devastating storm.
The Chandler home, where Central was originally located, was torn down at some time, and a small house and telephone building were erected in its place. In the late 1940’s a fire destroyed the house, the telephone building and a barn at the back of the lot. A new telephone building, with an upstairs apartment, was built at a cost of $16,000 in 1951.
In 1957, with 432 phones, the telephone system was changed from magneto type to dial. A dial building was built for equipment. Operator services were no longer needed. The business office, having been in operation since January 1, 1954, was retained.
Through the years boundaries of the territory served by the Danville Mutual Telephone Company evolved and were established. Originally, informal agreements were set up with the neighboring telephone companies of the surrounding area. Then in the early 1960s each of the various companies drew up a map designating the territory of its telephone company. Adjustments in territory boundaries were made to the satisfaction of the companies involved and with the final approval of the Iowa Commerce Commission. There has always been the utmost of cooperation between the Danville Mutual Telephone Company and its neighboring companies in providing services. Needless to say, however, the free connections once offered with some of these companies have been dropped from the list of services.
The Danville Mutual Telephone Company continued to improve its services to subscribers by upgrading its equipment, taking advantage of technological advances in the telephone industry. In 1968 new dial equipment, a Stromberg-Carlson SY 300 Line Office, was installed. Now for the first time, subscribers could direct-dial long-distance calls.
In 1969 a program was started to place all the rural lines underground. This work was completed in the late 1970’s. No longer could a severe ice storm wreak the devastation to lines that it did on New Year’s Day of 1948!
In the late 1970’s plans were made to replace the dial equipment with a digital switch, with plans to build a new combination business office and central office equipment building. IN 1978 the Danville Mutual Telephone Company bought the property just south of the business office. The house on the lot was burned by the local volunteer fire department, to increase the size of the site for the proposed new building. The old business office was razed in 1984 to make room for the new business office and equipment building, which was completed in February 1985. Situated at 102 South Main Street, it has become an attractive landmark for the city of Danville.
In 1984 the Danville Mutual Telephone Company entered into a cooperative arrangement with Mediapolis Telephone Company and Mutual Telephone Company of Morning Sun, calling for the joint purchase and maintenance of a central office switch and two remote switches. A Stromberg-Carlson DCO host and two remote switches were purchased and placed in service in November 1985. This was the first time such an agreement had been entered into by three Iowa Independent Telephone Companies.
In 1989 the Danville Mutual Telephone Company provided it’s customers with equal access. This was accomplished by the company joining with 128 other Iowa Independent Telephone Companies and forming Iowa Network Service Company, to provide centralized equal access service to rural Iowa.
In 1990 the company started to place all lines within the city of Danville underground. Also in 1990, Danville Mutual Telephone Company entered into the cellular business with Iowa RSA 4 as a limited partner. Towers for that service were located in Muscatine and Burlington. In September of 1994, Danville Mutual Telephone Company entered into a partnership with NRTC to distribute Direct TV and continued with the RSA operations. In 1999 Danville entered into agreements with VoiceStream (T-Mobile) and Iowa Network Services (Aureon) to build out a digital cellular network in Des Moines, Louisa, and Lee Counties in Iowa. In 2000, Danville sold its interest in RSA 4 and purchased additional digital cellular areas of Henderson, Hancock, and Mercer Counties in Illinois and Clark County Missouri.
In 2001 Danville Mutual Telephone Company celebrated its 100th birthday and recognized the many accomplishments of the shareholders and workers that made the company what it is.
In 2004 Danville added Jo Daviess County Illinois to their cellular portfolio to bring the totals to 8 counties of wireless spectrum, 56 cellular towers and approximately 6000 subscribers. Additionally, in 2004 Danville added PrimeStar customers to the DirecTV umbrella and increased their Satellite TV customer base. In 2005 Danville offered Wild Blue Satellite Internet service to customers in 4 counties in Iowa growing the customer base to over 400 subscribers by 2007.
In 2010 DirecTV eliminated all partnerships with telecommunications companies and Danville started designing its fiber optic network outside of their local exchange area. By 2011 a good portion of the fiber optic network was constructed by Danville in Burlington, West Burlington, Wever, Fort Madison, Montrose, and Keokuk Iowa. The purpose of the fiber network was to serve the cellular towers that Danville owned and operated as well as to offer fiber solutions to other cellular providers and the local business customers.
In 2015 Danville purchased Clinton and Jackson Counties of wireless spectrum and added another 20 cellular sites to their network.
In 2017 T-Mobile bought out the cellular interests of Aureon in the state of Iowa and left the independent telephone companies little choice but to do the same. Danville sold their cellular interest by December of 2017.
In 2019 Danville offers its reliable phone and internet services inside the local exchange boundary while continuing to build on its 175 miles of fiber optics outside of the exchange area to more than 230 businesses in 2 different counties.
Manager or Linemen
Frank B. Williams R.C. Williams Adna Miller
Ward Dameron R. A. Black O.P. McGrew
W. V. Randolph James Glanzman Eugene Thornburg
Edith Chandler Marguerite Huey Mrs. Freedman
Margaret Stutelberg Zetta Cline Doris Cresap
Lois Bailey Mildred Walker Velda Wasson
Avon Boyer Neva Randolph Faye Riepe
Esther Dickenson Virginia Whicher Doris Anderson
Long Time Employees
Helen Medefesser, 1st full-time bookkeeper, 1954-1972
Isabelle Mathews, bookkeeper, 1962- 1972
Wealthy Beck, Customer Service/Bookkeeper, 1972-1993
Eugene Thornburg, General Manager, 1958-1995
Phyllis Cross, Customer Service/Bookkeeper, 1983-2001
Lennis Kelley, Plant Manager/General Manager, 1969-2012
Helen Miltenberger, Bookkeeper/Human Resources, 1994-2015
Mandy Cross, Bookkeeper, 2004-2016
Devin Finke, Outside Plant Manager, 1993-2018
Acknowledgment: Some of the material about the early history of the Danville Mutual Telephone Company is reprinted or adapted (by the talented hand of Marjorie Fitzsimmons) from The History of the Danville Community, Volume I, 1966, by James I. Garrels and David R. Gerdes. Also in print in Lines Between the Rivers, 1991 by the Iowa Telephone Association.