Central Office: Jefferson City, MO

Located at 319 Madison Street in downtown Jefferson City, Missouri is a former Bell System/Southwestern Bell Central Office. The site also doubled as a relay site on the Long Lines microwave relay network.

The site is currently owned by CenturyLink, a descendant of a “Baby Bell” company that was formed after the divestiture of the Bell System and RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies, like Southwestern Bell) in 1984. It can be assumed the site is still used for switching and other purposes that it would have served in the Bell System days.

As previously mentioned, this site also doubled as a relay for the Long lines microwave relay network, as many COs did. The 1960 and 1966 route maps show Jefferson City having a singular hop to Holts Summit, which was television-only. (Oddly enough, the local TV station at the time – KRCG – was, and still is, located in New Bloomfield, north of Holts Summit.)

According to a later 1979 route map, Jefferson City’s role on the Long Lines network was expanded at some point between 1966 and 1979. An additional hop to Eldon was constructed. It is unknown for certain from the 1979 map whether this expansion also added telephone circuits to this route, but it can be assumed.

Jefferson City also had cable (not coaxial) routes to Knob Noster and Kingdom City.

My father grew up in Jefferson City and remembers having a neighbor who worked as a telephone operator at this facility. He also remembers the site having the pairs of KS-15676 antennas pointed toward Holts Summit and Eldon, which have long since been removed. As a kid, his neighborhood in Jefferson City was still on a party line.

Photos – August 2021

I took these photos on August 2, 2021.

A view of the Central Office from the northeast across Madison Street.
The site is currently owned by CenturyLink, the descendant of a “Baby Bell” company born out of the Bell System’s 1984 divestiture.
A view from the southeast, across Madison Street.
A view from the southwest, on East McCarty Street.
I found this Bell System-era manhole cover a couple blocks away from the CO.


©2021 Garrett Fuller. Page created August 4, 2021.