‘A powerful connection’

DFT?celebrates 120-year anniversary

Submitted Photo Arthur Maytum discusses with other workers and businessmen in 1898.

On February 18, 1898, Arthur Maytum started a business that would last through five generations and grow to become a leader in telecommunications and technology for Chautauqua County and beyond. That company is now known as DFT Communications.

Today, Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis is making a formal proclamation honoring the company’s 120 years of “serving the community … with integrity, honesty, dependability and commitment.”

According to DFT’s Dan Siracuse, Maytum, who owned a grocery store at the time in 1898, installed the area’s first phone line “so that when produce arrived at the train station they could call him and he would go pick it up.” That way, Siracuse explained, “his customers had the freshest produce possible.”

Siracuse said it was Maytum’s desire to offer the best service for his customers that acted as the driving force behind DFT’s success through the years.

“For 120 years DFT has been extremely focused on outstanding customer service and to this day that is still our base, our philosophy,” Siracuse said. “In this day and age it’s amazing that a local company can say that we have been in this area and grown for 120 years. It’s a tremendous staff. People who are dedicated not just to our company but who are dedicated to our communities and customers.”

Submitted Photo The Maytum Grocery store on Water Street was owned by Arthur Maytum, who in 1898 began offering telephone service to the residents of Fredonia.

Scott Wise, DFT marketing manager, described the trajectory of the company’s evolution in an article he wrote for the Chautauqua Star and is excerpted below:

“The company, incorporated as the Dunkirk and Fredonia Telephone Company, soon moved to the top floor of a facility on Main Street, and a staff grew to compensate for a increase in services. A room full of operators running plug-boards (hand-run switchboards to connect one call to another) connecting party lines (a group of homes or businesses running on the same line — so you could listen in on a conversation — which of course you didn’t do…) required the latest and greatest in telecommunications technology.

“Today, DFT Communications stands at the forefront of the telecommunications industry in the Chautauqua County area, and beyond. Providing astoundingly fast speeds via fiber-optic cable, state-of-the-art digital phone systems, monitored security services and reliable IT management have allowed DFT to remain a staple of success. All while being owned and operated by the same family for six generations.”

Mayor Landis cited in her proclamation that “DFT has been a strong supporter of education and has helped many local charitable organizations and economic causes through the DFT Communications/Maytum Family Community Betterment Fund.”

For all the contributions DFT has made to the community Mayor Landis proclaims “February 17, 2018 as DFT Communications Day in the Village of Fredonia.”

Submitted Photo Mark R. Maytum, President and COO of DFT Communication, receives a proclamation from Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis.

Siracuse said that in the months to follow, DFT will celebrate its 120th year with a series of special events.

“We’ll have an open house and other activities for customers, employee functions and eventually we’re going to have some tours for the community to come through our buildings,” he said.

For more about DFT and its 120-year anniversary, go to www.dftcommunications.com.

Submitted Photo A former plugboard operator hard at work at Dunkirk and Fredonia Telephone.

Submitted Photo A former plugboard operator hard at work at Dunkirk and Fredonia Telephone.