C & P Telephone

Below you will find the entire early history of the C&P telephone company.  But let's start out with the first telephone company in Charleston.

Charleston's first telephone arrive in 1880, just 4 years ater Bell invented it.

C&P telephone

The first telephone company in Charleston was headquartered above the Western Union office on Kanawha Street.

C&P Telephone

C&P telephone Company

The first official location for the new C&P Telephone Company was housed at 210 Hale St. That building still stands today.

C&P telephone switchboard

Interior of the Hale Street office and switchboard in 1905

Interior of the Lee Street switchboard in the 40s.

Switchboard Operators  Copyright

This is the only known photo (so far) that shows the C & P telephone operators at work in the 40s in Charleston WV on Lee St.   I was told that the rules were very strict on dress, manners and sometimes even personal life.  The trade off was a good (but hard) job with benefits and a bit of prestige.  I will add more background to being an operator  as soon as I receive it.


The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, originally part of the Bell System, was founded on January 1, 1917.  C&P of WV took-over telephone operations in West Virginia being served by Central District and Printing Telegraph Company, Southern Bell, and The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Maryland.

Dial service was first introduced by C&P of West Virginia in 1925 to the Huntington central office.
Bell Atlantic ownership

In 1984, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia became a holding of Bell Atlantic, upon the divestiture of the Bell System by AT&T.

Charleston became the first city in the United States to have a choice of long distance companies. By dialing "1" plus the area code and number, they could choose their long distance carrier. Charleston was the nation's first test market for the service, allowing 34,000 customers to choose from one of eight long distance companies serving the area.
C&P Telephone logo, 1984-1994

C&P Telephone Co. of WV was the last Bell Atlantic company to provide party line telephone service. The last party line was converted to "private line" service on October 30, 1989.

In 1993, C&P Telephone of West Virginia took its last analog switch out of service, becoming the first Bell Operating Company to have 100% digital switching

In 1994, Bell Atlantic standardized all of its Bell Operating Company names, resulting in C&P Telephone of West Virginia being renamed Bell Atlantic - West Virginia, Inc. In 2000, upon its purchase of GTE, Bell Atlantic became Verizon Communications, resulting in the new name Verizon West Virginia, Inc.


Operators changing shifts outside the building on Lee Street


The C & P Telephone building on Lee Street on the right.

C&P History



C&P Telephone Company

By 1931, construction was well under way

C&P Telephone Company

C&P Telephone Company

C&P Telephone Company

The first section was finished and lasted for years, until AT&T needed more room so many more floors were later added.

C&P Telephone

C&P is now the AT&T Building on Lee Street

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