Serving the Long Distance Line in Elkton

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1922, Elkton, MD showing the A.T.&T. Booster Station.  Source:  Enoch Pratt Library

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Elkton, MD. Source: Enoch Pratt Library

In the early decades of the telecommunications age, the rapidly expanding telephone industry was busy connecting far-flung places together with long distance cables.  The mechanics of moving signals over great distance required repeater stations and the rapidly expanding network required “plants” in larger towns.  So the Chesapeake and Potomac Phone Company, a branch of the Bell System, purchased the old foundry lot on the southwest corner of Bridge and High streets from Ed Molitor.

There it replaced an old frame dwelling occupied by Isaac Soloman with a substantial two-story brick building.  When the “new telephone exchange” opened in September 1917, the Company said it was making Elkton the headquarters for the Eastern Shore, as it established a common battery system to greatly improve the connection of through cables

In the next decade the advent of radio broadcasting required more hook-ups and more line capacity so American Telephone and Telegraph expanded in Elkton.  A contractor added a third story in 1928 as the room reserved for C & P when the building was erected had to be occupied.  The Elkton station was a repeater station between New York and Washington and recently a new cable was laid underground between those cities, the Whig reported in December 1928.

The next year the company stepped in to mark the town for aviators.  On the roof of the “A. T. & T Company Plant” large letters spelling out Elkton were put on the roof.  At night flood lights illuminated them so airmen could easily follow their progress.  There was a large arrow pointing north.  In September 1929, the “chief testboard man” was Harold C. Marsh and three of the company’s engineers from New York were here to supervise the installation.

elkton 008a

The Old A.T.&T building in Elkton, MD.

 

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