AMEICO celebrated the centennial of the Southern New England Telephone Exchange Building in June of 2018. An exhibition of rare telephones were generously donated by local collectors: Mark Berghold, George Champion, and Nancy A. Davis; the earliest examples of which would have been found in households when 29 Church Street was constructed.
Elizabeth Peyron, Victoria Noble and Jeanne Hulton who joined the Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) and worked at this location between 1946-1952. We were delighted to interview these three ladies and hear about the working conditions, routines, regulations and camaraderie of a telephone operator’s position starting just two years after the end of World War II.
Jeanne Hulton described working for SNET was like “being a part of a family, we organized outings and held wedding and baby showers for each other. We covered each other’s shifts when necessary.” Victoria described the layout of the building. There was a lounge, a locker room and a bathroom. Children of employees were allowed to visit their working mothers and relax in the, already mentioned, rooms.
Elizabeth recalled how the operators could sign up for any of the 4 hour shifts around the clock and no one would think twice about walking a few blocks home, as late as 11 pm.