Roswell growth and turkey tales
How many of you remember the old rotary dial telephones? We could be aging ourselves somewhat if we admit to remembering them, but it also connects us to a time that was a bit simpler. Hopefully we have good memories of those days. It is a nostalgic kind of feeling.
Today I’m going to share when the rotary dial phone service came to Roswell.
I took this information from a 1955 flyer I found in my family’s collections. The flyer also shares a bit of information about the growth of our town.
Finally, in light of our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I have added two related anecdotes. These come from the Carlsbad Current-Argus, 1939 and 1948, respectively. I hope you enjoy them.
A City And A Service Grow Up Together
“Today Roswell is the hub of a great agricultural empire with over 110,000 acres in cultivation and an annual crop value of over $20 million. And while agriculture was developing, Roswell was keeping pace.
“Through two world wars, a depression and an economic boom, the city proved it’s founding fathers had built well. Business and small industry progressed, and new ones were added. More homes in the tradition of fine living were built. A fine airport was constructed in 1929 and became municipally owned in 1940 when regular commercial plane service was inaugurated. A Memorial Youth Center was built, offering planned recreation to the city’s youth. Education’s growth was marked by the development of New Mexico Military Institute into a four year college and the building of always more public school facilities. The Roswell Museum was founded to keep the heritage of the past alive and to aid the city’s cultural development.
“In 1941, Roswell was chosen as the site of a new airbase. Today, Walker Air Force Base, located just south of the city, is a key defense installation and an important contributor to Roswell‘s prosperity.
“The population has shown steady increase — 6,000 in 1910; an additional thousand in 1920; 11,000 in 1930; 13,500 in 1940; nearly 26,000 in 1950.
“In these same years, telephone growth was also impressive. In 1910, the Roswell telephone system was completely rebuilt with the central office housed in a new building which still stands at 213 West Third Street. This rebuilding project gave Roswell standard Bell System local service even before the exchange was sold to the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1911. The succeeding years saw constant additions to long distance service from Roswell and constant growth in the number of telephones. There were almost 3,000 telephones in 1941 when the present building, at 311 North Richardson Avenue, was occupied. Since then, the number has increased 345% to 13,200 despite shortages of equipment which sometimes kept growth behind demand.
“On October 1, 1955, at a cost of $1 3/4 million, the most modern and exacting dial telephone equipment science has yet produced was placed at the service of Roswell telephone users.
“Modern Roswell is a city of 32,500. The accent is still on fine living. There are facilities of all kinds — recreational, industrial, educational. And there is still, of course, that matter of matchless climate, fertile soil and adequate water. No wonder, then, that so many have come to visit and decided to remain.
“The first step in providing dial telephone service for the city was construction of an addition to Roswell existing telephone building. The additional floor space would be needed to house the tons of new dial equipment that would be required.
“At the completion of the building addition, a team of skilled equipment installers began the big job of getting the new dial equipment in place and ready to serve Roswell telephone users. Millions of hand-soldered connections were necessary to make it possible to connect your telephone with not only any other telephone in Roswell, but with the most of the more than 90,000,000 telephones throughout the world.
“The completion of Roswell’s new dial system is just the beginning of a job which will continue day by day — providing better service for more people.
“Meanwhile, construction crews were laying miles of underground cables, some carrying as many as 4,242 separate wires. Other crews were installing still more miles of wire and overhead cables.
“Every one of the city’s telephones had to be equipped with dials. Countless hours of office work were consumed. It was necessary to change all of Roswell‘s telephone numbers, and all newly assigned numbers were listed in customer records.
“We of the telephone company are proud of the part we have played in the history of Roswell. We realize that we could have accomplished nothing, however, without the faith and understanding the people of Roswell have placed in us through the years. We can view the past history of our company and the City of Roswell with pride, and look to the future with confidence.”
Nov. 28, 1939
The Little ARGUS
Get That Swing
“Due credit must be given the Associated Press for rising to the occasion and providing life-saving advice concerning the question of carving the turkey. We pass it along for what it is worth:
“This is a Thanksgiving story for men only who never have been able to decide whether to carve the turkey from the sitting or standing position.
“The agriculture department has made a long study of the situation, and has decided that either attack will do.
“However, don’t try to mix the two. A change of pace is fine for baseball and football, but it won’t do for the dining room.
“The department says that many a man has messed up the festive bird and has received frowns, scoldings and wifely abuse when it really wasn’t his fault.
“After the turkey reaches the table the cook no longer has jurisdiction, yet she can be a big help if she will remember to:
- Put the bird on a big platter — every man needs space.
- Hold the garnish to a few well-placed sprigs of parsley — don’t hinder the carver with a lot of comestible interference.
- Keep the water glasses away — too many wives limit their husband’s working area by placing the tumblers too close to his elbow.
“Assuming that the stance is optional, from here the carver is on his own. Responsibility for the sharpness of the knife, says the department, is definitely the man’s. He also has the choice of the position of the turkey when set before him.
“Some men have trouble working from the broadside position. They should choose the point-to-point system.
“Few men have trouble with the turkey legs, it’s the wings that throw them. Remember — the place to cut it is usually much farther toward the center of the bird than you think.
“With the wings off, the breast is ready. The department endorses cutting it with a ‘slightly swinging motion down and away from the carver.’
“In other words — it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.”
Nov. 24, 1948
Chili Or Turkey? That’s Question At Girl’s School
“Santa Fe, Nov. 24 (AP) — Add this one do your Thanksgiving menu stories:
“Forty three girls at Saint Vincent’s orphanage will have their choice of turkey and all the trimmings or — chili.
“It’s a fact,’ reports Sister Anne Theresa, superintendent.
“‘Some prefer chili to anything else on a menu.’
“And never mind the cracks about ‘it could only happen in New Mexico.’”
Historian Janice Dunnahoo can be reached at [email protected].