In recognition of Gateway to the West Days in Blair, NE this weekend, Great Plains Communications (GPC) is doing a throwback to look back at the years we have spent in the Blair community.
GPC’s founder, E.C. Hunt purchased the Bell Telephone and Farmers Telephone in Blair and that was the final move to bring what we know as Great Plains Communications to the area. A modern telephone building was designed by Omaha architect Frederick S. Scott, and built in downtown Blair at 1638 Lincoln St.
While GPC has continued to expand, now providing high-speed Internet, cable TV, and phone service in over 90 communities across Nebraska through a 9,500-mile regional fiber network extending into Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. However, as large as the company has grown, it was formed in Blair and has remained in Blair.
Find information on all the Gateway to the West Days activities here.
Thamas, Bonna, and Lanvik in the 1924 Winter Olympics
It’s a throwback Thursday to January 25, 1924 as the first Winter Olympics began at Chamonix in the French Alps. The games were originally known as the “International Winter Sports Week,” involving six sports. According to the History Channel, “Norway won the unofficial team competition with 17 medals,” while “the United States came in third, winning its only gold medal with Charles Jewtraw’s victory in the 500-meter speed-skating event.”
The original Olympics was formed in 1896 called the Nordic Games and only Scandinavian countries competed. Similar to the modern Olympics, it was held every four years, but always in Sweden. “In 1908, figure skating made its way into the Summer Olympics in London, though it was not actually held until October, some three months after the other events were over,” History.com says. It wasn’t until 1925 that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally created the Winter Olympics, making the event at Chamonix the first.
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games is coming up, so watch for more information here on our blog as the February 9, 2018 start date quickly approaches.
Left to Right: U.N. Bethell, Senior Vice-President American Telephone & Telegraph Co., presiding; Hon. George McAneny, President Board of Alderman, New York City; John J. Carty, Chief Engineer, American Telephone & Telegraph Co.; Alexander Graham Bell, John Purroy Mitchel, Mayor of New York; C.E. Yost, President of Nebraska Telephone Co., Omaha; Hon. William A. Prendergast, Comptroller of the City of New York
“Mr. Watson, come here. I want you,” Alexander Graham Bell repeated his famous statement from New York City into the telephone in front of him. “It will take me five days to get there now,” replied his assistant Dr. Watson, from his location in San Francisco. January 25, 1915 marked the date of the first transcontinental telephone call, initiating long distance transcontinental service.
As we can now pick up our mobile phones and call someone standing on the other side of the world, Great Plains Communications wanted to do a throwback to when a 3,400-mile call across the United States was an astonishing goal to accomplish. Please also notice in the caption, that C.E. Yost, President of the Nebraska Telephone Company was also present on this day in history.
In recognition of Throwback Thursday, Great Plains Communications wants to remember the legendary John Wayne. As on this day in 1970, he received his one and only Best Actor Oscar for his starring role in Henry Hathaway’s Western True Grit.
The History Channel’s This Day in History highlights the actor stating, “Wayne appeared in some 150 movies over the course of his long and storied career. He established his tough, rugged, uniquely American screen persona most vividly in the many acclaimed films he made for the directors John Ford and Howard Hawks.”
Wayne later battled cancer, first lungs and later stomach, which ultimately took his life at the age of 72 on June 11, 1979. Though on this day, back in 1970, he received his only Best Actor Oscar at the 42nd Annual Academy Awards, Wayne was known to be “one of Hollywood’s most enduring performers” and gave outstanding performances in films such as Stagecoach, Red River, The Searchers and The Shootist.
138 years ago (January 28, 1878) in the Boardman Building of New Haven, Connecticut the first commercial telephone exchange took place. George Coy was the mastermind behind the District Telephone Company of New Haven that connected 21 customers, along with his two partners Herrick Frost and Walter Lewis. Coy created the contraption from, “teapot cover handles, wires from ladies’ bustles and carriage bolts”.¹
This brought big change, as prior telephones were only privately owned or by “businesses who leased telephones in pairs to connect”.² With the starting price of only $1.50 per month for the original 21 customers, the business was off and running. It wasn’t until the 1920s that direct dialing and telephone numbers came about.
It’s a Throwback Thursday with one of Great Plains Communications’ cable channels, The History Channel and one of its most popular features, This Day in History. It is exciting to think of the things that happened on this very day all throughout history. Below we have listed just a few highlights, you can find the full list here on the History Channel’s website.
1818 – Illinois Becomes the 21st State
Immigrants used to the vast forests of Tennessee and the eastern states didn’t know what to make of the prairies that covered Illinois. The first assumption was that it was inferior to the land they left, due to the lack of trees. Though it took some time for the people to get used to the land, it later grew to be the densely populated state we know today.
1967 – First Human Heart Transplant
After a 25-year-old was fatally injured in a car accident, 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky, residing in Cape Town, South Africa was given a second chance at a working heart. The surgery went well, with the heart working normally, however Washkansky later passed away from double pneumonia after the medication had left him susceptible to sickness.
1979 – Last AMC Pacer Rolls off Assembly Line
What was originally known as the car of the future, with tag lines like, “When you buy any other car, all you end up with is today’s car. When you get a Pacer, you get a piece of tomorrow,” ended with fading sales and a rough reputation.
The Internet has not only become an essential tool at home and work, but in schools as well. Great Plains Communications has some exciting Back-to-School promotions, but first we would like to throw it back to what college was like before Wi-Fi, online classes and having the web at our finger tips.
There was no such thing as online registration. You had a slip of paper with your desired classes and stood in line at the registrar’s office. While waiting in that line, you could think about the line you had to wait in later when getting your books.
Before tablets and laptops, taking notes meant throwing penmanship out the door and writing as fast as you could. You got a hand cramp? That was just part of it; no pain, no gain.
Do you have a question on an assignment? Professors didn’t send out weekly emails or assign online chats. You either tried to catch them in the classroom or signed up for office hours.
When a computer was needed for an assignment, there were no personal laptops to work in your dorm or wherever was comfortable. There was a sign-up list for the computer lab to write papers and use the printer.
Before eBooks and online searching, looking up a book in the library took time and patience with the Dewey Decimal System and many, many card catalogs.
It is fun to think back to how things used to be, but kids today are growing up in a very different world. Internet is not a luxury in college anymore, it is a necessity. From checking grades to having a class only offered online, Great Plains Communications understands the need for fast and reliable Internet service. Monday, August 10, Great Plains Communications starts Back-to-School promotions on high-speed Internet that you won’t want to miss. To find out what is being offered in your community, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.
1956: The Last Packard produced – “Ask the Man Who Owns One”
Enjoy the History Channel, along with a long lineup of other exceptional channels when you have cable through Great Plains Communications. Call our Custer Response Center to sign up today at 1-855-853-1483, and a representative will be happy to help you.
Leave it to Charlie Brown and friends to take part in the colorful traditions of Easter, such as painting Easter eggs and having an egg hunt. In case you forgot, Linus is determined to believe in the Easter beagle, as Snoopy tries to fill the role for him.
2. The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town (1977)
Continuing the love for Fred Astaire’s Claymation mail-carrier character from Santa Clause Is Comin’ to Town, this movie provided answers to the many letters sent in to the Easter Bunny. From there the story begins, and you are later left with the warm nostalgic feeling as the ending song starts and the mail-carrier’s train rides through the town.
3. Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
Seymour S. Sassafrass starts the movie showing his unique personality and telling of his business. He then goes on to tell the story of Peter Cottontail, a young Easter Bunny, and his adventures in April Valley.
4. Yogi the Easter Bear (1994)
“When there’s candy in the air, you’ll find—who else? Yogi Bear!” The story starts with Yogi as his cheerfully oblivious self, but later finds himself in search of the kidnapped Easter Bunny in hopes of taking him back to Jellystone.
Great Plains Communications hopes you enjoyed the throwback to Easter specials from younger years. No matter if you find yourself coloring eggs, eating delicious food or just talking with friends and family, we hope you have a wonderful Easter.
As a Throwback Thursday, Great Plains Communications (GPC) would like to look back on their beginning in Blair. As a four-generation company with 105 years of experience, GPC is proud to service 90 communities throughout Nebraska with nearly 200 employees. Not only do they provide residential services of broadband Internet, high-definition cable television and local and long distance calling, but they have greatly expanded their business services as well. The company has grown to providing business services into the neighboring states of Kansas, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado.
E.C. Hunt and his wife Vera
E.C. Hunt purchased the Bell Telephone and Farmers Telephone in Blair, Nebraska and the move was final. He and his family came from Walthill to run their new business. In 1927, Frederick S. Stott, an architect from Omaha designed a new telephone building providing space for the consolidation of the two Blair telephone exchanges. The approval granted by the Nebraska Railway Commission came later that year, allowing Hunt to purchase Bell’s lines and ensure that Blair, Kennard and Fort Calhoun would receive telephone service from the Blair Telephone Company.