Unique Manhole Cover Invites Curiosity

In the alley next to Union Street Station, you will find this manhole cover, letting you know the cover was originally placed by Citizens Telephone, an independent phone company that ran most of the lines in Traverse City in the early days of telephones.

Most independent companies have been bought out by larger systems, but perhaps more recently than you would guess. Surprisingly, one of the one of the longest-running local independent companies, Peninsula Telephone Company operated by Jack and Vi Solomonson, was purchased in the early 2010s by a larger cooperative. Peninsula Telephone Company began service in 1906 by the Porter family at Porter House (now, Old Mission Inn).

This month’s mystery photo begs the question: When was Citizens Telephone of Traverse City bought out by the Bell Telephone System?