Tag: Telephone Exchanges

  • Bell Telephone Exchange, Sharpsburg

    Bell Telephone exchange in Sharpsburg

    As Father Pitt has remarked before, telephone exchanges were designed to be ornaments to their neighborhoods, and the Renaissance-palace style was one of the most popular forms for them. This one is on Main Street in Sharpsburg, and it preserves its Renaissance dignity under the ownership of the successor to the Bell System.

    Bell System
    Corner view

    This blank wall on the western end of the building shows two different colors of bricks, suggesting that the building was originally one storey, with the second storey added later. That would explain the cornice at the first-floor level.


  • Bell Telephone Exchange, Allentown

    Bell Telephone exchange, Allentown, Pittsburgh

    A particularly fine Art Deco design. Neighborhood telephone exchanges were put up all over the city, and the telephone company, which had all the money in the world, always made them ornaments to their neighborhoods. This one still belongs to the successor of the Bell Telephone Company.

    Addendum: The architect was almost certainly Press C. Dowler. According to the Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form for the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania Western Headquarters Building, “Between 1935 and 1955, Press C. Dowler designed in excess of 60 buildings for Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh region.”

    Decorative relief
    Another relief
  • Bell Telephone Building, Oakland

    Bell Telephone Building, Neville Avenue

    When this dignified Renaissance palace on Neville Avenue was built, there were telephone exchanges like this all over the city, each one stuffed with operators directing calls from here to there. They were built to be ornaments to their neighborhoods rather than mere excrescences of technology. These days we dial numbers directly, but this building still belongs to the successor of the Bell Telephone Company.