The First House In America To Have a Residential Phone Line Installed

Many people have trouble remembering telephone numbers, but what if your phone number were 1? The Charles Williams, Jr. house located on Arlington Street in Somerville, Mass., is the location of the first residential telephone line. Williams was a businessman and manufacturer of electrical, telegraph and telephone supplies. He was eager to try out this new invention and started to construct the line that would connect his home with his office 3 miles away. In 1877, with him at his office and his wife at home, the first call was made. Williams was given telephone numbers 1 (home) and 2 (office) and newspapers spread the word. Orders began to pour in, and the first regular commercial customer was Roswell Downer, who installed a line between his house and his banking firm. After that, the Williams’ shop became the first and only manufacturer of telephone instruments. He retired from the company in 1886. Due to the historic significance of the Williams’ home, it was added to the Somerville Register of Historic Places in 1989, though it remains a private residence today.