The roots of this company find its beginnings in the old Pennsylvania Telephone Company. On June 10, 1882 the Southern Pennsylvania Telephone Company was officially incorporated for the general purpose of conducting business in the counties of Lancaster, Adams, York, Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, and Perry all under an act of the Pennsylvania State Assembly. On December 6, 1882 in the Court of Common Pleas in Dauphin County on the application of the telephone company officially changed to the Pennsylvania Telephone Company. By 1885 the corporation added the counties of Lebanon, Berks, Schuylkill, Lehigh, Carbon, Monroe, and Northampton and most of the state of New Jersey to the service area.
The first telephone service came to town in the summer of 1884 incorporating the service of the Pennsylvania Telephone Company as evident from the following article carried in the June 12, 1884 edition of the Lebanon Daily News;
Fredericksburg had at last succeeded in having telephone connections, this important event for the town having been consummated last week by the Pennsylvania Telephone Company. The phones of the company are located in the Post Office, Strauss’ Hotel, and other places.
In 1910 a new charter granting the establishment of the telephone company was filed in the Lebanon County Courthouse. The charter recorded in the Lebanon Daily News on June 11, 1910 reported that the new company had filed it’s articles of incorporation in good order-naming as directors for the new services; former Sheriff Elias Gerhart of Jonestown as President, his son E.H. Gerhart of Mt. Zion serving as the Vice-President, C.J.G.H. Wolfe of Bethel Township was named as Secretary, and Monroe Gingrich of Swatara Township was named as the Treasurer of the new organization. The company had a starting capital of $5,000.00 and Judge Charles V. Henry acted as Attorney for the company.
According to the records of the Bell Telephone Company-with the Mt.Zion and Fredericksburg Rural Telephone Company as the primary service provider had seventeen business and personal subscribers that were recorded for the year of 1919:
John H. Bicksler
John A. Brandt
Cornelius D. Dundore-Merchant
First National Bank
Fredericksburg Hosiery Mills
Jacob G. Gerhart-Undertaker
Charles G. Kemp
John B. Lentz-Veterinarian
S. Liebowitz & Son-Shirt Manufacturer
John E. McGiney-Grocer
John H. Sherk-Post Office
William C. Spannuth-Feed & Grain
John F. Stover-Veterinarian
Charles M. Strauss-Bakery
Photograph of Elias Gerhart Courtesy of Lebanon Daily News. Billhead of Telephone Company Courtesy of Terry L. Bicksler