York Town Square

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Hello, York, Stewartstown, Pa., no longer calling

Grace Tarbet, Ruth Miller, Thelma Nerlinger are on duty transferring calls at York Telephone and Telegraph’s Stewartstown exchange in this photograph from The Gazette and Daily. On June 18, 1961, their long tenures ended when an automatic exchange was installed. Background posts: Miata, pool suggest changes in small-town Stewartstown, Fawn Township’s magnificent Centre Presbyterian Church worthy of a looksee and Few know it, but digital computing’s first pioneer George Stibitz was born in York, Pa.

Those days when an operator transferred local calls ended in York County in the early 1960s.
Stewartstown was the next-to-last exchange to convert to automatic dial service in June 1961, with Fawn Grove slated later in that year.
“No longer will a Stewartstown subscriber be able to ask an operator for the special accommodation of routing a call to some nearby place where that subscriber would be visiting,” The Gazette and Daily reported.
Nine operators lost their jobs in that switchover… .

And Golda King, a 35-year operator, also lost the job of stamping the beginning and ending of toll calls.
That operation moved to the York exchange, where Stewartstown calls would be routed.
The Stewartstown changeover cost more than $325,000, a princely sum in those days.
But these changes did not end what today seem as quaint telephone practices.
As late as the early 1990s, 3,000 party lines still operated in York County. Perhaps it was the thift of York countians that kept that practice going.
In those days, a party line cost $10.09 monthly, compared to a private line at $13.54.