On This Date In Twin Cities History - December 10, 1878

Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co. Stock circa 1883
Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co. Stock circa 1883

On this date in 1878, Telegrapher Richard Henry Hankinson organizes the Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co. of Minneapolis with authorized capital stock of $10,000. The company would begin its operations with 53 subscribers in February 1879, and a line was strung to St. Paul in April of that year.

Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co. was one of the companies in the Northwestern Bell Group that operated in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Over time, Northwestern Telephone Exchange would merge with the other phone companies in the region to form Northwestern Bell.

On January 1, 1991, Northwestern Bell and Pacific Northwest Bell were legally merged into Mountain Bell which was renamed US West Communications, Inc. and was then acquired by Qwest Communications in 2000. In 2010, Qwest was acquired by CenturyLink.