Friday, August 14, 2009

1920 Ypsi Telephone Directory Was Only 9 Pages Long

Belleville's was only two. Willis, one. And all of the Washtenaw County phones were listed in a mere 47 pages.

Ypsilanti's population in 1920 was a little over 7,000 people. Only 1,971 residents owned a telephone: just 28%.

In the directory, addresses could be vague. "One residence, for example, that of John Hamilton, was listed as "Congress Street near limits." Addresses of those outside the city limits were usually listed as 'farm, Ypsilanti township.' If a visitor did not know where the farm was located he could find it simply by asking."

By asking? Is there an app for that?

What would happen today if you were to knock on a door and ask where someone nearby was? They might call the police.

At any rate, the article lists those who had phone numbers 2-9. To call local dry goodsman W. H. Sweet, you could dial, simply, 10. If the user could figure the phone out, that is: "the telephone was apparently still a somewhat baffling apparatus to residents here judging by the multitude of warnings and instructions contained in the book."

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