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Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association Inc. has the telecommunications capabilities to meet the needs of new businesses planning to locate in our service area. We are situated 2 miles north of Interstate 80 and are located about 45 miles west of Des Moines or 90 miles east of Omaha.

The first phones usually hung on the wall. To connect with the “Central” magneto type switchboard, you turned the crank on your phone which rang in at the switchboard. Locate in a home; the switchboard was open with a man or woman on duty twenty-four hours a day. Menlo’s first switchboard, in the early 1900’s was in a private home and was operated by a husband and wife. Early operators performed regular telephone duties, but also gave help in case of emergency. For example, when a fire broke out, a general ring was given so that local farmers could help. First overhead lines and phones were the responsibility of the patrons.

M.J. Sanborn, one of Menlo’s first businessmen, must have had the first communication system in town. He had a wire strung from his place of business to his home. He got his wife’s attention by tapping into a mouthpiece with a spike. If she was in the room, she would hear the tapping. There was a mouthpiece attached at each end, so it was possible for them to speak to one another.

Menlo’s first phones were owned by the Bandi and Hawkeye Companies. But on November 5, 1908, the Mutual Telephone Company purchased all the property (including lines, offices, etc.) of the Hawkeye Company for $3,500.00. This Mutual Company lasted until the early 1920’s when the Jefferson Mutual was established and maintained until 1961.

Menlo’s rotary dial system was installed in 1962. At that time the Jefferson Mutual was replaced by the Coon Valley Cooperative, financed thru REA program, included all underground cable.

Nevinville was incorporated in 1971 and a small brick building broke ground to house a Stromberg-Carlson switch and telephone lines were plowed underground. The rotary dial system with one party lines were operational in the fall of 1972. The switch was updated again in 1992. With government regulation and requirements, Coon Valley was forced into another purchase of a switch in 1998. Fiber optic was plowed in 2001 and 2002. Our fiber network extends into Creston along Highway 34 and terminates at the Iowa Network Services building located at Highway 34 and Elm Street.

In 1973, a new business office building was built on Main Street. The existing office is now used for our telephone switch. In 1996 extensive remodeling was done along with a new boardroom addition.

Fiber optic was buried from Menlo to Guthrie Center in 1997. Part of the project was shared with Casey Mutual Telephone.

The Menlo switch was also updated in 1998 to meet government regulations. It was replaced with a Mitel switch. In 2007 this switch was replaced with a soft meta switch.

The cable TV system in Menlo was purchased in 1998 from Vision Electronics. Several channels were added and new electronics were added to the outside plant.

Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association Inc. is served by a 9-member board. Three members from each district: Menlo-North, Menlo-South and Nevinville. Currently serving on the board are:
Larry Mathiews – President Justin Schneider – Treasurer
Rick Robson – Vice President Brian Britten – Secretary
Dan Christensen – Director Ben Gilman – Director
Steve Blazek – Director Lyle Wilson – Director
Larry Jacobson – Director  

Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association Inc. has 4 full-time employees:
Jim Nelson – General Manager Lori Scheloski – Office
L. Jean Wallace – Office/Bookkeeper Michael Clarke - Technician

Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association Inc.
516 Sherman Street, PO Box 108 | Menlo, IA 50164
641-524-2111 | Fax: 641-524-2112

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