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The Talk of the Town
  • A PBX board was used in Lake Placid from 1930 to 1935

  • Florence Nowling Booker was Lake Placid's Chief Telephone Operator from 1930 to 1935

  • Emily Dewey placed a call to Dr. Alfred Eide in 1931, after Dr. Dewey suffered a stroke

Lake Placid's phone exchange soon ready the headlines of a local newspaper declared on December 15, 1930.  All the equipment is in place and sixty homes are wired and waiting to be "cut in."

Florence Nowling Booker worked for Intercounty Telephone and Telegraph Company in Ft. Myers and in 1930 transferred to Lake Placid to become the town's first and only PBX operator.  Florence operated the PBX board during the daytime, and daughter Mildred Booker, a high school student, answered the night calls.  In those days telephone operators were many things to many people.  They were lifeline and the very heart of the community.  The townspeople would call Florence and tell her where they were going and to please forward their calls.  Then they called to tell her they were returning home.  If you wanted to know anything, you called Florence.

The household telephone was a big wooden rectangular box hanging on a wall.  A bakelite earpiece hung in a cradle on one side of the box.  A mouthpiece was on the front and beside that was a crank.

The telephone office was a building with a raised floor on South Pine Street just one block off Interlake Boulevard.  The back area was for living and the front housed the PBX board.  The building stills stands.

The mural depicts a documented phone call between Dr. Dewey's wife Emily and Dr. Alfred Eide on December 26, 1931.  Dr. Dewey aroused earlier than usual, Mrs. Dewey stated, and called her.  They were discussing club matters when his talk suddenly became unintelligible.  This was followed by a loss of consciousness.  Dr. Alfred T. Eide was called.  Dr. Dewey never fully regained consciousness.

Artist Location Size Sponsor Note Audio
Don's Carpet
117 Interlake Blvd
60 Ft. x 11 Ft. Donald & Dorothy Bates Find a child's play telephone N/A

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