rainier avenue


It is my great pleasure to announce that today we made the first successful call from the Panel office to the No. 1 Crossbar!

This is a truly momentous occasion! The museum has the only remaining Panel and No. 1 Crossbar switches left in the world, and for them to once again connect calls to each other after more than 40 years is an incredible achievement!

Our Panel switch, “Parkway 2” served the Columbia City, and Rainier Valley neighborhoods of Seattle in the Parkway central office on Rainier Avenue, from 1923 to its replacement in 1974. The No. 1 Crossbar, “Vernon 2”, served the University District from the Lakeview central office on 65th from 1942, until its replacement in the early 1980’s. During their time in service, they interoperated with each other, and with the many other central offices in the city of Seattle.

After they were brought to the museum in the 1980s, communication between the two machines was never established, because the terminating senders that the “Vernon” Crossbar required to complete calls from the “Parkway” Panel office were no longer available. This has been the case ever since the museum first opened.

Last year (to my great surprise), I was able to locate a fellow collector who had the exact parts we needed to re-establish a connection between the two machines. He helped decommission many electromechanical COs in the 1980s, and had several revertive-pulse terminating senders that he brought home from an office in Brooklyn, NY. When he heard about our machines, he enthusiastically agreed to donate the equipment we needed!

After Astrid and I retrieved the units from Connecticut, we and a team of volunteers spent a year wiring and installing them in our “Vernon-2” Crossbar office. It was a fantastic learning process, and we have grown together as a team during this time. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together, and completely humbled by the time and energy that everyone put into this project.

I’d particularly like to extend my love and thanks to Les Anderson, Colin Slater, Astrid Smith, Jim Day (the equipment donor), and all at the museum who gave their time, money, and advice during this time. I am grateful to each and every one of you, and this would not have happened without your hard work and dedication.