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In Their Own Words

December 19, 1884

New Telephone Service Recorded in Diary

The first telephone exchange in America opened in New Haven, Conn. in 1878 with 21 customers. Interest in the telephone spread quickly, and within five years Atlanta had a telephone exchange. The 1884 Atlanta telephone directory consisted of a single page with over 500 names. On Dec. 19, Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards got a phone for his home, as noted in his diary:

“We have telephone communication today with the store and some 564 other citizens. Our store number is 554 and the house 564. The cost is $104 per year. It is very convenient. I do not know whether it will pay or not but we must in a measure keep up with the times.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966 reprint of 1954 original volume), Vol. II, p. 75.