The background behind the Telephone
Central Office Building Pictures website and why it is here.
The Telephone Central Office Building Pictures website was created for one reason only - historical preservation.
The telephone central office is the location where local landline telephone switching takes place. Inside is a specialized electronic telephone "switch" where phone calls are transferred from one customer to another, or to another central office via a long distance circuit.
The central office is almost as old as the telephone itself. Often times these buildings were built many years ago with an architecture that has been long ago forgotten. Many times these buildings were very large to accomodate the analog switching equipment of the day - Step by Step, Crossbar, Panel or early electronic. These days almost all central offices have modernized their switching equipment to a fully electronic system that takes up only a tiny space where years ago large electro-mechanical systems took up floors of space.
As telephony has changed over time, many people are now abandoning the traditional landline telephone for cellular or various Voice over IP methods. The theory is that as traditional landline use goes down, these buildings of yesteryear may dissapear.
The goal of this website is to preserve these buildings for future generations in the years ahead. About 40 years ago, a telephone preservationist called "Mark Bernay" started recording telephone sounds. He now has a website called Phone Trips. Also on that website are sounds from his friend "Evan Doorbell" from 30 years ago. All the switching equipment that made these sounds are long gone. With the help of these two folks and others like them, we are able to listen to these sounds today. This site has as similar goal - preserving what we have now for people to look at in the future.
This is not the only website preserving these pictures for the future. One website is called Telephone Central Offices, operated by a former telephone employee, and Telebeans, operated by a telephone enthusiast (who sadly passed away several years ago. A mirror of his former site can be found here.)
This site encourages
people to take pictures of telephone central office buildings where
you live for the purposes of historical preservation. Please keep in
mind to respect telephone company property and ONLY take pictures
from public places. Please do not do anything illegal!
The CO Building Pictures webmaster.
Copyright 2013 Telephone Central Office Building