Pinnacles Telephone Co.
Rex Bryan got started in the phone business in 1953.
At that time there were about 50 small companies in the
state. The number now is far less. While many of
the larger phone companies had thousands of subscribers,
Bryan's phone company had 180 subscribers.
Growing up on the family farm several miles south of Paicines, Rex Bryan knew the area as well as any resident. His father, Ellis Bryan, a merchant marine, settled there in 1907 with his young bride he had brought back from the north island of New Zealand. He purchased this 100 acre parcel of land for $4,000. The Bryan farm specialized in dairying, chickens and alfalfa, giving Rex a strong background in agriculture. Farming was just a part of why Rex loved this property, but it was the telephone company that piqued his interest.
In 1953, Rex and his brother Loren took over the management
of Butts Telephone Company, owned by William Butts.
Soon the two brothers negotiated to buy the William Butts
Telephone Co. for $500. In those days there was
a single line which handled three to four carrier
channels. Each could handle about ten
subscribers. The subscribers shared party lines which
in many cases was the way of socializing.
The Bryan brothers' business partnership lasted until 1958. Rex bought out Loren's share, dividing up the 100 acre family farm. Loren got the larger share, while Rex got the telephone company plus some 40 acres of the farm land. Rex, while growing alfalfa, also ran the phone company. About the same time Rex bought out the neighboring New Idria phone line from Lily Berg, and changed its name to the Bryan Telephone Co. There were about 30 subscribers on the New Idria line, comprising of people who worked for Idria quicksilver mines together with area farmers and oil-producing families.
There was a lot to do, more than one-person could handle, so Rex hired three to four people to help him out, particularly to run the plow for laying cable. His wife Martha, who had grown up nearby, did the company's secretarial work until her passing in 1984. At that time Rex hired a secretary to take over some of the tasks while Rex continue to do much of the bookkeeping himself.
Rex's two sons were included in the company, now named Pinnacles Telephone Co. at the time of incorporation and remained stockholders until Bryan brought them into the business in 1992. The oldest son, Steve, had been an electrical engineer in San Jose area, and Harvey, who had been helping in the outside plant maintenance as well as working in the service industry in Hollister became an integral part of the telephone company. During this time, Harvey's wife, Rosemary did much of the secretarial work.
They all worked together until their dad's passing in 1999. Steve and Harvey took over the business and continued to grow the company with the same personalized service that their father was so proud of. When Harvey decided to retire several years ago, Steven Bryan Jr. heard the call, and left his career as an Engineer to work with his father, Steve. Just like his father, he never thought that he would work at the Pinnacles Telephone Co., but the memories of summer vacations at the ranch, and helping his grandfather, Rex, made this decision an easy one. Steven now works side-by-side with his father Steve. They continue to modernize and upgrade equipment.
Alta Vista, The Sunday Herald Magazine
He Owns The Phone Phone
Sunday, March 18, 1995
By Judy Karas
To provide personalized, excellent services to our neighbors and subscribers.