CURRENT Exhibit:

NOTE: Exhibit End Dates subject to change.

Quote of the Month:

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." - Maya Angelou

Fairfield Hall


2410 Fairfield Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46807 

(260) 456-6929

Fort Wayne Fairfield Hall  Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(closed Sundays, Mondays, Holidays)

Current Exhibit:

(August 31-December 31, 2017) 

The World's First Long Distance Telephone Line

Long distance telegraph lines had been constructed in California as early as the mid-1850's. 

The contract for the formation of the Northern California Telegraph Company for a line to reach 300 miles between Marysville and Yreka. 

Founded by Justin E. Strong and J. M. Hubbard,  the Northern California Telegraph Company was the first substantial telegraph line built in California and one of the first three long distance telegraph lines build west of the Mississippi up to this date.

By 1878 some gold fields of California had evolved so that the extraction of gold was possible only by hydraulic blasting. 

Three companies, with a total of four reservoirs & 323 miles of ditches, constructed a new telegraph line in order to effectively manage these operations.

This new Telegraph Line Was to become the Predecessor To The World's First  Long Distance Telephone Line.

The total distance of the line was 61 miles.  The estimated cost was $4880.00. 

The three companies, Milton Co.,Eureka Lake Co.,  and Bloomfield Co. shared the cost relative to the portion of the line from which they benefited.

In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell had obtained a patent for his new invention, "The Telephone".   

By 1878, pairs of telephones were being rented to individuals by the Bell Telephone Company.  

It is possible some pairs were also sold  (instead of rented)  as ould be implied by the communication between the State of California and the Bell Telephone Company.

The State of California examined the possibility of the installation of telephones only 2 years after its invention.

On learning of the new possibility of verbal communication, the three mining companies completed their telegraph system by installing Bell's telephones.

A breakdown into shares and costs for the various sections for each company was determined and the work was completed over the sixty-one mile course.

The new system was called the Ridge Telephone Company. 

This was the World's First Long Distance Telephone Line.

Within only a few months of the operation of the new telephone line, on May 21, 1879, an article appeared in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin:  Elisha Gray,  who had filed a patent for the telephone a few hours after Bell,  was filing suits against those who had rented or purchased Bell's equipment.   In fact,one of Gray's suit would eventually fail but not before 600 prolonged additional suits.

The new Ridge Telephone Company was operating without permission! Their comment below the article states;

"Does this cover our telephone? ... I will see." In the meantime the use of the system continued.

To insure legal use of the new telephone system, the Ridge Telephone Company signed a contract with R.S. Lisson, who would in turn maintain the line and lease the telephones from Bell Telephone Co.

The first nine months' operation under this contract shows the rent paid to Pacific Bell and the payment to Lisson.

After the first year, instead of an 'intermediate contractor', a formal contract was signed directly between the Ridge Telephone Co. and the Pacific Bell Telephone Company, effectively reducing the Ridge Telephone Co. to a part of the future Bell Telephone System.

The first "telephone repair men" were electrical contractors. Instructions for repair would be given to the user, however if not successful a professional repair man could be sent out to train the user. 

Also on exhibit is a letter from a company in Sacramento who has offered to communicate with their New York agents to obtain necessary telephone equipment supplies.

Finally on exhibit is an example of an order to send a telephone message.  

Evidently the operator would do the talking in this case!!! ... perhaps due to the time it would take to locate the party to whom the message was directed.


Bell's Paper - Multiple Telography 
Bell's Description - Vibrating Undulation Current
Bell's Very First Diagrams
Bell's Research Notes / Multi telograph
Mulitple Pitches
Bell's Patent
Bell's Patent 2
Bell's Patent Notes
Telephone Poles
Long Distance Telephone/General Description
Contract for California's First Long Distance Telegraph
Predecessor to the Worlds First Long Distance Telephone Line
California conciders the New Invention: Telephone Lines
The First Long Distance Telephone Line
Long Distance Telephone Operation w/o Permission
Long Distance - The Fist Lease with Bell
Long Distance - The Fist Account
Long Distance - 2nd Years Lease with Bell
Long Distance Telephone Repair
Order sent By Telephone
World's First Telephone Book
Photo and Glass Negative of First Long Distance Telephone


"Shout out"
We would like to give a huge "THANK YOU" to the Old Fort!!! They have alowed us to display six (6) 8' posters the "War of 1812" - which include FULL COLOR American artwork....
which has been given to them (on Loan) from the United States Naval Museum!!!
This is a great opportunity to see the "War of 1812" through the perspective eyes of the U.S. Navy.

(on loan from Ben Clark)

The African-American Calendar of Historical Figures
other references:


- JUNGLE BOOK:A copy of the original corrected typed draft of the book..and....A copy of Disney's drawing of "Mowgli"

- The Homestead Act and Indiana map (there is also a copy at the Old Fort along with a copy of a Dutch Drawn Map from 1739...showing the area of "New France", that would later become Fort Wayne.) 

- Egyptian Sandstone Carvings covering the time frame of Ahmose, Thutmosis I, Amenhotep IV, Amenhotep III,Amenhotep II, Amenhotep I (whose father died slightly after the birth of Moses according to Biblical chronology), Thoth (the Egyptian god of writing), and Hieroglyphics on a Ushabti Doll (1570 B.C. - 1342 B.C)

- Models of some of the great Sailing ships including replicas of a Egyptian Bireme , the U.S.S. Constitution, and more.....

- The Final Indian Peace Treaty Between the United States and Every Indian Tribe in the United States. The Declaration of Allegiance of the American Indians to the United Sates which includes a few pages of the thumb prints of all of the Indian Tribe leaders.

- The First Female President of The United States of America: Edith Bolling Wilson. Not officially voted into office, but never the less ran the Executive Branch from October 1919 to March 1921. On display is a letter that she wrote in 1933 about the depression.

- The Olympics: The Original Proposal for the FIRST MODERN Olympic Games

- The First Female Russian Cosmonaut - Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova -After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.

Piqua Hall

3039 Piqua Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46806

(260) 449-9551

Fort Wayne Piqua Hall  Hours: 
Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..
Saturdays: By Appointment

(closed Saturday, undays, Mondays, Holidays)

Current Exhibit:

North West Maps of Exploration

An excellent collection of Early Maps depicting the west coast of the United States. Most date prior to the creation of the United States of America.


Hand Drawn "City View" Maps for Sebastian Munster

First Map of Iran - 1478
The Babylonians ruled the world in the sixth century B.C. Yet, afterwards, in the course of about half a century, they ceased to exist. This is remarkable enough, but it is even more astounding that their successors, the Persians, had not existed before! In 560 B.C., Cyrus the Great became the king of Persia, a small state in the Middle East, and within 30 years had replaced the Babylonian empire with his own.
In 597 to 586 BC, the Chaldeans (Southern Babylonians) had conquered  Jerusalem and forced the most prominent citizens of Judah: professionals, teachers priests, craftsmen, and the wealthy into exile in the city of Babylon. They kept these Jews together, hoping that the Babylonian citizens would benefit by associating with such an accumulation of so many scholars. Indeed these scholars used this period to create and put into writing the greatest book of all time, The Hebrew Bible.
In 538, Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return to Judah and Jerusalem and re-establish their identity and religion. It is amazing that The Book of Isaiah refers to Cyrus (King of what will be the future state of Iran) as the Messiah!

ALSO we have exhibits covering:

A Statue of Joan of Arc 


One of the few known letters by King Charles VII to have survived.

About Us:

The Karpeles Museums are a national chain with thirteen museums in the U.S., specializing in the preservation and display of original, historically significant documents and manuscripts. 

Fort Wayne Fairfield Hall  Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..(closed Sundays, Mondays, Holidays)

Admission is always free of charge. 

Visit our national website to view the other eleven museums online:

Please Note:

We do not do appraisels....Nor are we able to purchase.