In 1948, V.N. (Red) Sears, an ex-Southwestern Bell employee, bought the franchise area from Holmes Telephone Co., of Wichita Falls, Texas. Holmes Telephone Co. was owned by J.N. (Jesse) Holmes, the father of Gordan Holmes, who was previously manager of the former Byers-Petrolia Telephone Company. He and his wife, Sara, named the phone company Community Telephone Company. They operated the business out of their house in Scotland, Texas until a large ice storm knocked down all of the lines. After this, they moved to Bluegrove, TX. Then they moved to Joy and operated the switchboard there until 1953, when they sold the company to Jake and Louise Horn. Jake Horn was employed by a mutually–owned phone company in Muenster, Texas. The Horns moved to Windthorst and moved the switchboard from the Eugene Anderle house to their house and operated it from there until 1958.
The Horns worked with the REA to get low-interest loans from the government to build new lines and new buildings. Then on April 22, 1955, Community Telephone Co. was incorporated and sold shares. A total of 818 shares were sold for $50 each.
In August of 1958, the REA loan funds were approved and two new buildings were built. New lines were installed and the company went to dial service. The number of customers increased to 175 in Windthorst. The Scotland exchange, which was previously part of the Windthorst exchange, was added in 1963. The Bluegrove exchange was added in 1969. This exchange was previously part of the Joy exchange. In 1970, the company acquired the area around the Lake Kickapoo and built the Lake Kickapoo exchange. Community Telephone went to one-party service throughout all exchanges in 1974 and in 1975 the company added the Lake Arrowhead exchange. Also, in the same year, it installed digital T-Carrier and added Direct Distant Dialing to all exchanges.
Floyd and Betty Humpert bought controlling interest of Community Telephone Company on September 1, 1975. Floyd had been working with the company part-time since 1953. Shortly after, he went to full time and by 1955, was plant superintendent. After Floyd purchased the controlling interest, he hired four of his six sons. Floyd worked for the company for 36 years until his death on July 20, 1989. Betty Humpert started with the company on September 2, 1975. She has been here since and, as a result of Floyd’s death, has become President of the company. In 2015 four of the Majority Stockholders sold their Shares of Stock in the Company, Leaving the remaining four of the children with the majority of stock.
On October 31, 1979, Community Telephone had a small tragedy when its garage and warehouse that was insulated with spray-on insulation burned to the ground for a total of $75,000 in damages. Then in October of 1981, the surrounding area flooded due to heavy rainfall. The flood washed out miles of cable and repeater housings. For a few days, several exchanges were isolated. Employees had to swim out to the repeater housings to raise them out of the water and replace them. They also had to install temporary cable over bridges to replace the cable that was washed away.
In July of 1986, Community Telephone Company, Inc., became involved in the cellular business with its interest in the Wichita Falls, Texas MSA and again in July 1989, with presence in Texas RSA 5 and 6. In 1986 Community installed the latest technology with the purchase of a Stromberg Carlson Digital switch in the exchanges of Windthorst and Scotland and later in 1990 the remaining exchanges and this provided our customers with the latest calling features like calling name and number. In 1994 Community along with Comcell installed Fiber Optic cable to tie to other Telephone companies in the area. In the summer of 1994, Comcell, a subsidiary of Community Telephone Co., bought DIRECTV programming rights to 5 five counties in North Texas. In 1998, the company found it advantageous to sell its programming rights to Pegasus Satellite Television. 2011 was the year that Community added the very latest Technology with a Taqua Soft switch (about the size of window AC unit) this technology allows us to tie to the internet for lower cost transport.
Community Telephone Company, Inc. has a nine-member Board of Directors and employees 7 full time employees and several part time employees. To learn more about Community Telephone Company, Inc., call 940-423-6201.