CLINTON — The Gateway History Club will tour the S&S Telephone Museum in Fulton, Illinois at 9 a.m. Oct. 14. The S&S Museum is located at 1003 Fourth St., in downtown Fulton.
The S&S Telephone Museum has limited space so the club is asking members to sign up for the 9 a.m. tour or the 9:45 a.m. tour. Please let us know what time works for you in advance. Members of the public are invited to attend. The state of Illinois now has a mask requirement.
The S&S Telephone Museum is located in the building that was once home to the Fulton Telephone Company and is full of vintage phone equipment. Remember the old wall type telephone with the hand crank. Some folks may remember when you could listen in on the party line.
Eric Salter stated that the building that houses the museum is the location of Fulton’s first automatic telephone exchange and was owned by the Fulton telephone company from 1949 until approximately 1972. Eric and his father, Larry, later purchased the property.
The Salters have always had an interest in telephones and associated equipment but in 2010 a large milestone came. At the urging of Fulton residents Charles Dykstra and Barbara Mask they began opening their collection to the public as a museum. They have been overwhelmed with the support and interest that has resulted ever since.
The collection currently contains approximately 250 telephones of various styles and dates ranging from approximately 1900 to 1990. There are several telephone booths, a working switch board, and several types of automatic switching equipment. Many of the telephones currently on display are connected to one of the switching systems and visitors are encouraged to use them to place calls to one another.
The museum is always open during Fulton’s Dutch Days festival in May and tours can be arranged by appointment with Eric at (563) 559-6501 during other times of the year.