Telephone history

Only nine years after its invention, the first telephone was installed in Niles Center (Skokie) in 1886, probably in the home of Henry Harms, in the 5300 block of Oakton Street. It cost 25 cents to place a call.

Other toll stations were added in subsequent years until 1910 when the first telephone switchboard was installed in the home of Martha Kindt, on the south side of Galitz Avenue near Niles Center Road. Kindt was the switchboard operator, providing services to 70 phone lines in Niles Center in 1910. The number of lines increased to 326 by the end of 1925.

In response to an increased population, Illinois Bell opened a two-story central office in 1929 at 8231 Niles Center Road. By the end of 1930, there were 1,252 telephone lines in the community.

The 1924-1959 digitized telephone directories in the digital collection may be accessed in the Skokie and Niles Center Telephone Directories Digital Collection.

For later directories, contact the Skokie Public Library.

Telephone history