Sunset Telephone Company serves 3,612 subscribers on March 6, 1899.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 9/24/1999
  • Essay 1687
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On March 6, 1899, the Seattle Star reports that the Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Company is occupying new quarters at 1108 3rd Avenue (at Spring Street) in Seattle. Seventy "girls" make 26,000 switches a day for 3,612 subscribers, up from 318 subscribers 10 years before.

A decade later, by 1910, there were 28,527 telephones in Seattle.

Sunset inaugurated telephone service for 90 customers from one room in Seattle on March 7, 1884. The Great Fire of 1889 destroyed all the equipment and lines, but service was reestablished with newer equipment and with telephone poles with glass insulators. A second telephone company, Seattle Automatic Telephone Exchange, also served Seattle, but the two systems were not connected, which obliged Seattle businesses to use both companies in order to be in communication with all their customers.

In 1901, Seattle Automatic Telephone merged into the Independent Telephone Company. On January 1, 1913, Sunset acquired its competitor and was renamed Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co.


Clarence B. Bagley, History of King County Washington (Chicago-Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929), 513; Clarence B. Bagley, History of Seattle (Chicago-Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916), 727-728; The Seattle Times, August 6, 1996, p. A-1; Polk's Seattle City Directory, 1900.

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