Did you know that Bryant Pond, Maine had its own telephone company that still used crank telephones up until the 1980s?

If you've ever driven through Bryant Pond on your way to Bethel or Sunday River, you may have noticed this giant phone in a park.

It's dedicated to the Bryant Pond Telephone Company that operated out of the living room of Elden Hatthaway and his wife. Up until it was bought in 1981 by what today is Oxford Networks, the family run phone company still used crank telephones. You'd turn the crank, an operator in the Hathaway's living room would answer and you would tell them who you want to call.

Just before they sold the business, the hit NBC TV show Real People sent co-host Skip Stephenson and a camera crew to Bryant Pond to film the little telephone company. Here's a shot of Skip talking with Elden about how his phone company works. Could this look anymore rural Maine?

George Schlatter Productions

Here are the operators at the switchboard in the living room, most likely also Hathaways.

George Schlatter Productions

There's also some great shots of what the town looked like 35 years ago.

George Schlatter Productions
George Schlatter Productions

You can watch the episode featuring the Bryant Pond Telephone Company if you have Amazon Prime. This link will take you to season 3 of Real People. Watch episode 20 to see the segment.