This is a rerun of Jan. 31, 1980 with some updates.

Since then “Cumie” (Mrs. Harold McCormick), great granddaughter of James Emmitt who wrote some interesting articles for years, died several years ago, as has Miss Ella Humphrey.

The Waverly State Bank is now the U.S. Bank.

The Stiffler building was torn down several years ago. That building housed the first movie house and a billiard-pool hall, too, before Stifflers.

I don’t think there is a pool room in Pike County now. There was one in Beaver and one in Piketon in the 1950s.

Here is the article from Thursday, Jan. 31, 1980 ...

How many can remember the first telephone line being installed into Waverly? I’ve sketched a scene that took place as the wire was being hung onto poles along the canal between Omega and Waverly. From the Waverly News, Apr. 20, 1960 issue and an article by Cumie and from talking to Miss Ella Humphrey a few years ago, I found the following information. Ella’s father, Elisha owned a general store and flour mill in Omega, near the canal, which furnished power for the mill.

From the top picture in that article, the date of 1900 was given as the date the telephone company began operation. The crew included Mr. Humphrey, Tom Clayton, a long and reliable employee and Jack White, who came here to become the company mechanical engineer. These had the foresight to see what an improvement the telephone was over the telegraph. Most railroad stations had telegraph for their use and sometimes one for Western Union for personal messages, but these were not connected to homes and businesses. The telephone line was built from Omega to Waverly following the Ohio and Erie Canal.

The first place in Waverly to have a phone installed was Smith & Sons Hardware building on High St. near Emmitt Ave. This was the former canal toll collector office and warehouse. Now the drive-in section of the new Waverly State Bank occupies that site (now U.S. Bank).

Second to receive a phone was J. Nott Hoffman store on N. Mkt. and the canal. Now best known as the Greenbaum building; it was built by James Emmitt in 1878 and is now occupied by the Beehive Bar (Update: The building is condemned and will likely be demolished.) Later the first telephone exchange was located on the second floor here. The first office hours were 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays, but as more phones were added and their use became popular, the hours were extended until finally another operator was added. Miss Addle Chenowith was the first operator here.

The line was extended on south down the canal, into houses and businesses, especially Jasper where much trade was done mainly in timber products.

The Home Telephone company expanded quickly and Charlie Condon, of Omega, came to Waverly to become general manager with Jack White, his assistant. In 1907 the exchange was moved to the second floor of what is now the old Waverly State Bank building. At this time ads in the Waverly News proclaimed that there were 212 miles of line in Pike County and more being added. The only complete service in the county. Another ad informs us that vandalism was common then, too. Reward offered $25.00 for evidence sufficient to convict anyone for destroying glass insulators, telephone wires and etc. along our lines. Home Telephone Co., Waverly, Ohio.

In 1909, the telephone exchange was moved across the street to the Shuskey building. If you look closely at the north side of the Stiffler building (torn down), the sign “Home Telephone” can still be seen. Elisha’s son, Ernest grew up and took over the company in 1917 when his dad died. In Apr. 1928, the heirs sold the telephone company to the Phone Co. of Jackson and later it became part of General Telephone Co. This article is dedicated to all who worked for the phone company in Pike County.

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