In this day and age of wireless phones, it can be said without too much fear of correction that Niagara County takes telephones for granted. So it is probably appropriate that we take a moment as we prepare to celebrate the county's bicentennial to look back at a time in the county's past when telephones were new and unknown. Famed inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, had worked his magic with sound waves and had been granted a patent for his telephone in March of 1876.
Two years later in March of 1878, Niagara County greeted its first telephone with whimsy and amazement. The phone line, located in Niagara Falls, connected the Cataract Bank with the home of bank officer, Francis R. Delano. The bank was located opposite the International Hotel and Mr. Delano's residence was at the comer of Main and Niagara Streets in the Falls.
The general public and countless tourists were so interested in this wonderful curiosity that Delano allowed people into his home from the hours of 4-6 PM to gawk at the spectacle. It was said that a steady stream of visitors arrived each day. (Has anyone had any visitors lately to look at their phone?) The Cataract Bank itself, in spite of its forward thinking and acquiring the latest invention of the day, still managed to fail and closed in 1893.
Douglas Farley, Director