Calaveras County Points of Interest
The marker reads:
Present site of one of the last family-founded and-still-operated-by-that-family phone companies in America. Founded by Jim Tower, who strung his first telephone wires in 1895 tacked along posts of barb wire fences, earning himself the colorful nickname, “Barbed Wire Jim.” In 1900, Jim was franchised with Alexander Graham Bell to do business with the Bell system.
Barb Wire Jim was born in nearby Salt Springs Valley in 1879, having been midwifed by Madame Felix herself. In 1909, Jim married one of his operators, Laura Hazelquist. Barb Wire Jim died in 1936. His wife ran the company until she was succeeded by their only child, Howard. The company is now run by Barb Wire Jim’s grandson, also Jim, but not “Barb Wire.”
Dedicated by Matuca Chapter 1849
E Clampus Vitus
April 3, 1999 (6004)
Credo quia absurdum