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 In 1908 Harmon Bigelow owned and operated a stage line business carrying passengers and goods to and from parts of eastern Madera and Fresno counties. Harmon's wife, Leota, wanted to be able to talk with her mother who lived about one mile away. To accomplish this, two telephone sets were ordered from a mail order catalog and the couple's son, Jesse, strung the wire between the two houses to complete the connection. The Ponderosa Telephone Co. which evolved from this link, is the result of Jesse Bigelow's foresight and the Bigelow family's continued involvement in the telephone business. Jess saw telephone service as more than a convenience; he saw it's potential. As a result, the Bigelows decided to string additional telephone lines to enable the stage line business to communicate not only to the stage line, but also to the Forest Service, to the Southwest California Utility Group, and more importantly to the communities. In 1912, the Biglow family extended its informal network to connect with the outside world at Clovis, near Fresno. Until this time the telephone network had been a private system, owned and maintained by the Bigelows. Whoever wanted to use the service did so at no charge. However, upon hooking up with the "outside world" the State Railroad Commission, the ruling communications authority at that time, declared the family was operating a telephone company. The Railroad Commission gave the Bigelows a franchised territory of 650 square miles, serving two Counties and assigned tariff rates to make the company officially the Bigelow Telephone Company. In 1957 the Company's name was changed from Bigelow Telephone Company to The Ponderosa Telephone Co. and was incorporated at the time. Today, The Ponderosa Telephone Co. service area has expanded to over 1,600 square miles and includes areas like the town of Friant, which lays in flat lands at about 400 feet above sea level, as well as the mountainous country of the Sierra, which is 8,200 feet above sea level. In the spring of 1992 Ponderosa extended its service area to include over 1,200 square miles surrounding the small desert community of Cima, located in Eastern San Bernardino County. The Company operates eight central offices in the communities of Auberry, Big Creek, Cima, Friant, North Fork, Shaver Lake and Wishon. The Company provides telephone service to approximately 7,000 customers. All of this accomplished with a work force of approximately seventy employees. The Ponderosa Telephone Co. is a family owned company which believes in providing the highest quality state-of-the-art communications capabilities.