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McHistory: Bloomington-Normal's Last Switchboard Girls

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Woman at a switchboard
McLean County Museum of History
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By June 1943, Clara Gerhart was the last Wabash Telephone Co. operator to work the long-distance switchboard.

In 1935, switchboard operators for the Wabash Telephone Company handled an average of 60,000 calls coming through its downtown Bloomington building.

This episode of McHistory tells the story of how Bloomington-Normal switchboard girls responded to the introduction of automatic dial systems.

This episode of McHistory was produced by WGLT's Mary Cullen, featuring Bill Kemp and Hannah Johnson of the McLean County Museum of History.

Subscribe to the McHistory podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or NPR One.

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