Ponderosa Press Release
Telephone Celebrates 100 Years of Family Business: Shares Secrets to
Ponderosa Telephone Company of O’Neals, CA is
celebrating 100 years of business.
The Bigelow family story is the story of the
and the determined pioneers who tamed the rough and tumble territory in
the late 1800’s. This telephone business was founded by Harmon Bigelow
and is one of a handful of companies surviving 100 years in the
that is still family-owned and operated.
In 1900 young Harmon secured a contract to
transport U.S. Mail from
to Fresno Flats and O’Neals with just 2 horses and a small spring
wagon. The need for
transportation services for the foothill and mountain communities grew
and a stageline business was born.
The telephone business started when Harmon’s wife
Leota ordered 2 phones from a mail order catalog so she could speak with
her mother who lived a mile away. Harmon
grew the telephone network from a family convenience, to an essential
communications tool for the stageline, ultimately extending to the
surrounding foothill communities.
Throughout the years there have been relatively few
family leadership transitions. When Harmon died, he passed the reins to
his son Jesse until the early 1980s when tragedy struck the family.
Jesse Bigelow, Robert Bigelow and Bob Silkwood (who married Jesse’s
daughter Luanne) passed away within an 18-month span.
This left the family leadership to Jesse’s only daughter
, who remains the president of Ponderosa today.
When asked for the secret to enduring a century of
family ownership, she responded, “Ponderosa Telephone is not just a
business, it is 5 generations of a rural American family lifestyle that
must be preserved for future generations. In business, I am only as
successful as the people I surround myself with. With the talents of my
managers and employees, a continued flexible mindset from family
leadership, plus commitment to our customers, Ponderosa will continue to
Experience a historic journey through interactive
media online: www.goponderosa.com/centennial