We posted some information about this event earlier this week, but here’s the official press release announcing the premiere of the new short film C.L. Brown and Kansas Independent Telephony. Several images in this short film were originally taken by Paul H. Jeffcoat with the Jeffcoat Photography Studio.
The Dickinson County Historical Society is pleased to announce the debut of C.L. Brown and Kansas Independent Telephony, a new short documentary film on Abilene’s twentieth-century patriarch.
Beginning in 1899, Abilene’s C.L. Brown began the Brown Telephone Company, which in its later years would grow to become Sprint. At a time without wireless technology or even dial phones, operators diligently worked twenty-four hour shifts connecting customer calls and greeting everyone with a friendly voice. After much company growth and expansion, Brown began to give back to his employees and the general public.
In 1926, the Brown Memorial Foundation was born. With this foundation, Brown and his siblings built the Brown Memorial Home, a retirement community still in operation today. They also created Brown Memorial Park, which featured boys and girls camps, a swimming lake, golf course, and zoo. This was a popular Kansas destination, attracting as high as 20,000 people on one weekend occasion.
With his acts of philanthropy, Brown promoted a spirit of giving that is still seen in telecommunications companies today. Kansas is home to over 30 independent telecommunications companies, which give back to their communities in remarkable ways.
C.L. Brown and Kansas Independent Telephony will premiere with a debut screening on July 21 at 6:00pm in the Eisenhower Presidential Library Auditorium. After a screening of this short documentary, the film’s project staff will hold a panel discussion on the making of the film and the importance of stories like C.L. Brown’s. Everyone in attendance is also invited to attend the Dickinson County Historical Society’s Annual Ice Cream Social at the Dickinson County Heritage Center at 7:00pm. Both events are free to the public, but donations will be appreciated at the Ice Cream Social.
Principal funding for this program is provided by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions, and ideas that shape our lives and build community.