Looking back: 45 years ago, the phone system changed

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Forty-five years ago, in 1972, Atmore residents were getting ready for some major changes in their phone system.

The party line was going to become a thing of the past and everyone would be able to direct dial to make a phone call.

When you think about the advances in technology, it’s hard be believe that just 45 years ago people were sharing a phone system.

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That reminds me of the party line that my great-aunt had in the 1950s.

There were four people on each line and sometimes it was really hard to make a call.

My cousin, the granddaughter of my great-aunt, was my best friend. She practically lived at her grandmother’s home. In the late 1950s, she had a boy friend who called her. I thought it was the funniest thing that they would get on the phone and then say nothing.

Just a lot of silence, but the problem was that no one else could use the phone on the other three lines. It was 45 years between the party line, to carrying a phone around with you everywhere you go. That is progress.

Former Postmaster General Winton Blount was the speaker at the chamber of commerce banquet. He made the prediction that Richard Nixon was going to become the next president.

The sheriff’s office reported its arrests for the month of January and it showed that the majority of arrests were DWIs which meant that most were driving while intoxicated. Now that is a shame. No wonder we have so many accidents on the highway. All of those drunks are not helping.

James Van Pelt, son of Mr. and Mrs. James G. Van Pelt, was one of 25 winners of scholarships to Birmingham Southern College.

Thirty people attended and became charter members of the Escambia County Historical Society at the college. The featured speaker was Milo Howard Jr., director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. He welcomed the group into the “family of historical” societies. They discussed the moving of the Sowell house to the college.

This was the home of the Sowells that once stood on the corner of Belleville and Hawsey St. I don’t know what happened to that house. They did not move it to the college and I don’t know what happened to it. Jack Hines donated the house, but it had to be moved because he was going to build the townhouses that now stand where the house was back then.

It was announced in The Atmore Advance that $14 million was grossed in 1971 from Escambia County products, which was $2 million over 1970.

Advertisements in The Atmore Advance included the A&P with three pints of strawberries for $1 and Charmin tissue-three four-roll packages for $1.

Kwik Chek had ground beef for 59 cents a pound; two dozen large eggs for 89 cents and bacon for 65 cents a pound.