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University of Connecticut University Libraries Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

SNET logo, 1906   

Going Beyond the Call: Southern New England Telephone Company's Response to Natural Disasters in Connecticut




Blizzard of 1888

Flood of 1936

Hurricane of 1938

Flood of 1955

Other Disasters


About the Exhibit



Connecticut has had its share of devastating natural disasters. The Blizzard of 1888, the Hurricane of 1938, and the Flood of August 1955 are some of the events by which many long-time residents date all others. These tragedies wreaked death swiftly and cruelly on many residents, with unimaginable damage to property. Roads were impassable, railroad lines were destroyed, homes and businesses were ruined, and electricity was knocked out. Many conveniences--and necessities--that we take for granted were unavailable for days following these dreadful events.

Established in 1878, the Southern New England Telephone Company responded to each disaster by acting swiftly and efficiently to restore telephone service to all of its customers. These catastrophes hit SNET as hard as other businesses in the state, yet it had to reach every corner of Connecticut to fulfill its mission. The men and women of the company put aside personal losses and difficulties and persevered throughout the tragedies. Countless managers, engineers, lineworkers, and operators braved all kinds of dangerous conditions to secure buildings, repair lines, or work the switchboard. SNET's slogan, "We Go Beyond the Call," truly was put to its test when times were tough.

In this online exhibit, captivating photographs recall the disasters that have befallen Connecticut--destroyed homes, ruined roads and railroad lines, devastated towns and cities--and demonstrate the response of those who restored service to thousands of telephone subscribers. The photographic record is complemented by historical documents and published sources from the Southern New England Telephone Company Records in Archives & Special Collections.