A Storied History
Over A Century of Telecommunication Service
Winn Telephone Company organized January 2nd, 1908. Prior to this time a number of people owned lines serving the community with limited service. Long distance calls were made through Michigan State Telephone Company who had toll service from Shepherd to the Starkweather building (which became the Winn Shopping Center) where the switching was done by alligator clips and a piece of short wire connecting farm lines to the toll circuit.
On March 16th, 1916, The Winn Telephone Company was incorporated. In April 1916, the first switchboard was purchased and installed for $208.09. The telephone rates at that time were $1.00 per month. The switchboard was moved and operated out of various residences until 1922 when it was again moved to a building on the main street where it remained until 1959.
In 1959, used dial equipment was purchased from General Telephone Company and service was cut over on November 1st, 1959 from magneto to automatic dial service serving 175 patrons. At this time, the equipment was moved into a new cement block building on Blanchard road. With increased requests for service, larger equipment was needed.
In June 1965, new Automatic Electric dial equipment was purchased. In 1985 a new Stromberg switch was installed offering many special features like call waiting and 3 way calling. In 1994 the Stromberg switch was replaced with a new Nortel switch that is still in place with several upgrades. The Company offers phone service, DSL and VDSL services.
In 1990, subsidiary Wincel Cellular was formed. Cellular phones and equipment along with Century Cellunet wireless service were sold out of the Winn Telephone office. In 1996, Wincel moved to Mt Pleasant and continued to operate until the mid 2000’s.
In 2000, another subsidiary, Winn Telecom was formed and is located on Mission St, Mt Pleasant. Winn Telecom is a CLEC operation, which means it, can go into Frontier and AT&T areas to provide service. With offices in Mt Pleasant and Gaylord Winn Telecom offers Voice, Data and Internet services in much of Central Michigan.
Through good times and bad the company has continued to grow. Winn Telephone has come along way in 100 years.