Washtenaw Home Telephone Company was one of two competing telephone companies in Ypsilanti in 1909, with 265 phones; by 1913 they had been bought out by the Michigan State Telephone Company, which later became Michigan Bell.
Thomas J. Keech and Clark Cornwell of Ypsilanti owned a phone line between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and in 1881 they approached Saline to hook up to their service. Keech’s companies would grow into the Michigan State Telephone Company, later Michigan Bell. In its early days, the company was challenged by a number of small local companies and an Ann Arbor–based regional company called Washtenaw Home Phone. By 1913 Bell had bought everyone out and had become the sole provider, except in Saline, which was served by the Saline Telephone Company, a private company formed by Edward Hauser.
- Response to Reader Question: Social Networking Technology in 1907 Ypsilanti, Dusty Diary, May 2009
Analogously, Ypsilanti in 1907 had two competing and mutually hostile telephone companies. Ypsilantians subscribed to either the Washtenaw Home Telephone Company (265 homes in Ypsi around this time) or the Michigan State Telephone Company (1,478 homes in Ypsi). The systems did not overlap. If you were a member of WHTC and your friend across town was a member of MSTC, you could NOT call them, just as you can't communicate internally between Myspace and Facebook.