History of Spring Grove Communications
In 1920 the Spring Grove Telephone Exchange Company and the Village Cooperative Telephone Company were formed and together with 31 rural farmer owned switcher companies provided telephone service to Spring Grove and the surrounding rural area.
Beginning in 1957 and culminating in 1958 the companies were combined into what was to become Spring Grove Cooperative Telephone Company. The first stockholders meeting of the Spring Grove Cooperative Telephone Company was held on January 20, 1959 for the purpose of electing directors and adopting by-laws. The first board of directors meeting was held on January 23, 1959.
In the early 1950s many telephone companies began switching from crank phones and operators to automatic dial tone. On December 28, 1959 the board voted to proceed with plans to convert to dial service. This action was ratified at the annual stockholders meeting held on January 19, 1960.
The first full time manager was hired on February 26, 1960. On March 14, 1960 a loan application was made to Rural Electrification Administration for $424,000.00. With the acceptance of the loan the process was begun to sign up subscribers from the other rural switcher companies.
It was also necessary to relocate the office to have space for the new equipment. On December 20, 1960 the site known as the Thoreson property was purchased and a new building was built on the site. In 1961 a new dial step switch was purchased and installed by Automatic Electric.
After the 1960 construction, customers were treated to five party, two party, and private lines instead of sharing one line for the ten to fifteen people they were used to.
In the late 1980s new services began to be offered nationwide and it was necessary to upgrade to a new switch in order to keep offering the best services to subscribers. In 1991 a Nortel DMS-10 switch was installed, plus all new underground copper was installed to each subscriber. In 1991 Internet dial-up equipment was installed giving subscribers their first Internet experience, the high pitched squeal of modems dialing and speeds up to 56K.
As the new century dawned it became necessary to add onto the facilities to make room for increased equipment and staff. The lots west of the building (previously the Wendel Oliver Dealership and more recently the home of Red’s IGA) were purchased in August 2002 and construction of the current Spring Grove Communications building was completed in the fall of 2004. The new building included space for the Spring Grove Public Library, the Spring Grove Fitness Center, community meeting rooms and office rental space continuing the company’s commitment to the community.
As technology continued to advance it became apparent that copper cable could no longer handle the demands of new services. Beginning in 2008 fiber optic cable was buried to all subscribers and the switch was upgraded to a Nortel CS1500. The entire project was completed in 2009, making Spring Grove Communications the first all fiber telco in this part of Minnesota. This allowed for the delivery of high speed Internet at virtually any speed and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) to all subscribers, whether a city resident or a rural farmer.
In 2008 a group of citizens discussed the possibility of having a movie theater in Spring Grove again. After some discussion and research, the group came to Spring Grove Communications for help. In 2009 Spring Grove Cinema was built on the site across the street from the main office on the lot that used to be Yesteryears Antiques and, years before, Muller’s Meat Market. The cinema offers stadium seating for 200, full digital with 3D capabilities and a stage for other community presentations.