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Concord Telephone Company records

 Collection
Identifier: MS0388

Scope and Contents

In addition to the records and papers of the Concord Telephone Company, this collection also contains a small quantity of records from the Albemarle Telephone Company. Collection 388 contains a wide range of corporate records of the Concord Telephone Company, from around 1900 to 1995. This includes such things as annual reports, contracts, correspondence, records about employee benefits, corporate stocks, advances in telephone technology, exchange stations, and much more. Most of these headings are divided into subseries. In addition to its corporate records, the CTC published telephone directories and a variety of magazines and newsletters, and a nearly complete series of these publications is contained in this collection. Progress, which was usually published quarterly, was the predominant company serial and contained news items about the CTC and its employees. In fact, Progress provides a wealth of information about CTC, its employees as well as the history of Concord; and is the single most revealing and informative source of information about the company. Progress reflected the strong sense of patriotism and religious devotion of its editor, as evidenced by the articles and cover illustrations of the magazine. As an outgrowth of its articles on local history, there is a large series in the collection that concerns Cabarrus County history, and is arranged alphabetically by subject heading. Lastly, there is a large collection of photographs, slides, transparencies and negatives concerning CTC activities and Concord history.

Dates

  • 1897 - 1997

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Daniel Branson Coltrane was born in Randolph county, North Carolina on December 25, 1842 to Kelly and Mary Gossett Coltrane near Ebenezer Methodist Church on the banks of the Deep River. Daniel had several siblings. His father, Kelly moved the family to Guilford County in 1854. Kelly Coltrane died unexpectedly in 1859 when Daniel was only sixteen years old. When the Civil War broke out, Coltrane volunteered to serve with the “Trinity Guards,” and later the Fifth Carolina Cavalry. Coltrane was wounded twice during the war—once when his cartridge box exploded, and on another occasion, an exploding shell knocked him off his horse. After the war, Daniel’s elder brother, Wesley, persuaded him to visit Missouri with the hopes that he might live there permanently. Daniel eventually decided to return to North Carolina, where he learned the photographic and jewelry businesses. In November of 1866, he married Eleanor Jane Price Vanice of Arrow Rock, Missouri. Daniel took his wife and business back to Missouri, where a son, Lester Durrett Coltrane was born in 1869. It was L.D. Coltrane, who would be one of the founders of the Concord Telephone Company. D.B. Coltrane later tried to get into the banking business in Marshall, Missouri, but there was too much competition in the area; so he moved his family back to North Carolina, where he settled in Concord and established the Concord National Bank there. D.B. Coltrane soon became one of Concord’s leading and most influential citizens, and became involved with many commercial and industrial enterprises. He was also deeply involved with charitable, educational and religious causes. Daniel Branson Coltrane died on January 16, 1937, at the age of 94. Lester Durrett Coltrane was born in Missouri on April 18, 1869 to Daniel Branson and Eleanor Jane Price Vanice Coltrane. It was while he was still a child that his father (who was trying to establish himself in the banking business) determined that their fortunes would be better off in North Carolina. Daniel B. Coltrane moved the family to Concord, North Carolina in 1886, when Lester was seventeen years old. When he opened the Concord National Bank in 1888, he appointed himself as cashier and his son as book-keeper. Lester D. Coltrane initiated a meeting with his father and nineteen other Concord businessmen at the Concord National Bank on Saturday, July 31, 1897, for the purpose of forming a locally-owned telephone company. The businessmen heartily endorsed L.D. Coltrane’s idea, and voted to issue twenty-five shares of common stock at $50 a share, and elected officers (N.F. Yorke as President, W. C. Houston as Vice President and L.D. Coltrane as Secretary-Treasurer). As instructed by the board of directors, the secretary-treasurer immediately set out to sign on subscribers. The rates for business subscribers was $15 a year and $10 a year for residential customers. By early September of that year, the officers and board of directors signed Articles of Agreement, and Coltrane filed them with the Clerk of the Superior Court for Cabarrus County and the North Carolina Secretary of State. Even with his duties with the newly formed telephone company, L.D. Coltrane continued to work for the Concord National Bank. Coltrane maintained an active role with the CTC for many more years, either as the secretary-treasurer, or member of the board of directors. He died on January 30, 1948, having missed only one annual stock-holders’ meeting and one board meeting during that time. Lester Durrett Coltrane Junior, was born in Concord, North Carolina, on October 8, 1893 to Lester Durrett and Julia Gay Coltrane. He received his education from Concord public schools, Trinity College (now Duke University) and North Carolina State University; earning a degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1914. He started his career with the Concord Telephone Company that same year, at the age of twenty-one, and worked as a lineman’s helper, later as a lineman and also as a trouble-shooter. Over time, he worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming a manager in 1931 and secretary-director in 1934. By 1948—the same year his father died—he had become secretary-treasurer and general manager. Coltrane purchased forty-six acres in 1950, where he built his home as well as a park he named “Rosecrest.” He made this private park available to his employees for the annual company picnic, and also to other parties on other occasions. The CTC named him President in 1966, a position he retained until his death in 1985. From 1967 to 1985, he edited the company magazine (usually published quarterly) entitled Progress, in which he highlighted corporate activities and local history. Coltrane also manifested his values of religious devotion and patriotism in this publication. As an active member of the community, Coltrane served as the president of the North Carolina Independent Telephone Association, and on the board of directors of the First Charter National Bank, and the Board of the Cabarrus Savings & Loan. During World War II, he was active with the Cabarrus County Canteen and bond-selling efforts. He was a past-president of the Concord Rotary Club and Rescue Squad, the Cabarrus Boys Club and the L.I.F.E. Center, was a trustee of Pfieffer College, he earned the Silver Beaver award for his support of the Boy Scouts, and he was also a member of the Masons and the Shriners. Mr. Coltrane died in 1985 at the age of 92. Lester Durrett Coltrane III (also known as “Bub”) followed his father’s footsteps. Bub graduated from Davidson College in 1940, and went from there to the US Army as a commissioned officer in 1941. During World War II, he served in General George Patton’s Third Army. He remained in the Army until 1946, by which time he had achieved the rank of major. In civilian life, he entered the banking business, working for Concord National Bank (later known as First Charter National Bank), eventually becoming its president and chairman of the board. He retired from his career as a banker in 1986, after his father died. It was then that the CTC Board of Directors elected Bud to the presidency of the company. He led the company during a time of technological transition. The process of technological change, begun in 1984, was a matter of switching from analog to digital technology at all of the CTC exchange stations. This process was largely complete by the end of 1986. The following year, Bub served as chairman of the board, and his son, Michael was elected president. L.D. Coltrane III was extensively involved in the Concord community—as a member of the Concord Rotary Club, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, of the Concord Chamber of Commerce, and also of the Board of Trustees of the Cabarrus Memorial Hospital. He married Phyllis Crooks and had three children: Michael R. Coltrane, Gay C. Ausband and Daniel Branson Coltrane (Daniel died in 1988). Michael Coltrane, like his father, graduated from Davidson College, and afterwards, matriculated though the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the US Army’s Transportation Corps, and by the time of his discharge he held the rank of captain. Back in civilian life, he began his career at North Carolina National Bank (later known as NationsBank and later as Bank of America) for ten years and then worked for First Charter National Bank and then First Charter Corporation of Concord. By the time he ended his tenure there he attained the position of Vice President. Michael left the financial services industry when the CTC Board of Directors elected him as president of CTC in 1987. Michael was one who recognized the necessity of keeping up with the latest technologies, and he kept the company focused on the latest advances. In addition, he also expanded the benefits package for CTC employees. It was Michael Coltrane who, along with other company officials, mapped out a plan for a “Reorganization and Share Exchange Agreement” of CTC. The Board of Directors approved this plan at a special board meeting on October 22, 1993. The new plan established CT Communications, Inc. as a holding company for two subsidiaries: the Concord Telephone Company, and the Concord Telephone Long Distance Company. In 1997 CT Communications added another subsidiary: CTC Exchange Services—formed for the purpose of offering customers a full range of telecommunication services on a single bill. Michael married Anne Collins, who was the President and owner of Efficient Systems, Inc.

Biographical / Historical

The Concord Telephone Company (CTC) of Concord, North Carolina organized in 1897 as the result of the initiative of Lester D. Coltrane Senior. The founders of this new company (consisting of the most prominent members of the Concord community) elected officers, issued common-stock, and ordered telephone equipment to start the enterprise. In its first year, the CTC had about eighty subscribers. Success and prosperity came steadily over the years; and as the number of subscribers grew, so did the number of employees as well as the value of the company’s stock. As technological advancements came along, the company took the initiative to buy and install new equipment. When corporate giant, American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) tried to buy out this local phone provider, the CTC resisted efforts at monopolization and remained independent. The first great test of endurance came during the Great Depression—a time when many telephone companies lost as much as a third of their customers. The CTC experienced a loss of only three per cent. Another major change to the industry came in the form of industry deregulation during the 1980s—a time when the Reagan Administration sought to minimize government regulation. New government policies gave customers more options (now they could buy their own phones instead of leasing them), and also required telephone companies to itemize their utility bills. One hundred years after its inception, the CTC had installed over 100,000 telephones. Over the years, the company diligently kept up with technological advancements, investing large amounts of capital in new equipment and computer hardware and software. Documentation in their corporate archives shows the progression from hand-crank telephones, to dial telephones, touch-tone and ultimately cell phone technology. CTC’s efforts to keep up with technology paid off in the dividends of its stock options. Even in the worst of economic times the CTC made a profit, and in the best of times, its investors prospered. The administration of CTC remained almost entirely in the hands of members of the Coltrane family. Lester Durrant Coltrane Senior, was the one who instigated the organization of the company in 1897, later serving as the company’s first secretary/treasurer. His son, L.D. Coltrane Junior, began working for the CTC in 1914 as a lineman’s assistant and ultimately worked his way to the position of President and CEO. His descendants succeeded him after his death in December of 1985. Under Coltrane’s direction the CTC developed a reputation as a favorable employer that offered competitive wages and benefits. Coltrane provided a variety of recreational activities for the employees’ enjoyment—especially the annual company picnic at Rosecrest. Employees’ longevity and company loyalty were also recognized and rewarded during the annual Service Award Dinners, each fall. L.D. Coltrane Junior died at a time when the company was in the midst of a technological change-over from analog to digital services, and the Board of Directors elected his son, L.D. Coltrane III to preside over the company. “Bub” as he was affectionately known, completed this change by the end of 1986. A year later, the Board elected Bub’s son, Michael to serve as president. In 1992, Michael Coltrane and several top-level company officials formed a plan for the company’s future. The following year the shareholders voted to approve a “Re-organization and Share Exchange Agreement,” an action that established a new company—CT Communications—as a holding company for Concord Telephone Company and Concord Telephone Long Distance Company, as subsidiaries. In 2007 Windstream Corporation purchased CT Communications for $585 million. [Bibliography: Horton, Clarence E. A Century of Progress: The Concord Telephone Company, 1897-1997. Concord Telephone Company Records, 1900-1997 (mss 388), University of North Carolina at Charlotte Library.]

Extent

10 Linear Feet

Language

English

Overview

Contains a wide range of corporate records of the Concord Telephone Company, from around 1900 to 1995. This includes such things as annual reports, contracts, correspondence, records about employee benefits, corporate stocks, advances in telephone technology, exchange stations, and much more. Most of these headings are divided into subseries. In addition to its corporate records, the CTC published telephone directories and a variety of magazines and newsletters, and a nearly complete series of these publications is contained in this collection. Progress, which was usually published quarterly, was the predominant company serial and contained news items about the CTC and its employees. In fact, Progress provides a wealth of information about CTC, its employees as well as the history of Concord; and is the single most revealing and informative source of information about the company. Progress reflected the strong sense of patriotism and religious devotion of its editor, as evidenced by the articles and cover illustrations of the magazine. As an outgrowth of its articles on local history, there is a large series in the collection that concerns Cabarrus County history, and is arranged alphabetically by subject heading. Lastly, there is a large collection of photographs, slides, transparencies and negatives concerning CTC activities and Concord history.

Arrangement

The Concord Telephone Company records are divided into four series, which in turn are subdivided into a number of subseries. These series are: I) Albemarle Telephone Company II) Concord Telephone Company III) Subject files and Series IV) Photographic materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Carrell Brooks of CT Communications, in 2007 and 2008.

Related Materials

A century of progress : the Concord Telephone Company, 1897-1997 (RARE HE8841.C6 H68 1997)

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes
Title
Concord Telephone Company records
Status
In Progress
Author
Robert A. McInnes
Date
Oct. 2007 - Jan. 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated