Countdown To The 10 Greatest Secrets At The New Market House: #8 1890 Is Calling!

Secrets of the Land

The historic Market House has been a Disneyland icon since the park’s opening in 1955. After a massive refurbishment in 2013 the café once again opened it’s doors to guests. Striking a balance between tradition and new functionality on Main Street, the refurbishment introduced many new elements to the building while holding on to may of it’s historic ones. So please join me as I explore the Countdown To The 10 Greatest Secrets At The New Market House.

1890s Party Line Phones

1890s Party Line Phones

#8 1890 Is Calling!

In the 1890’s if your family was lucky enough to have a phone, it was most likely a party line. Party lines were phone lines that were shared by several houses or businesses. Also known as a Multiparty Line or Shared Service Line, two or more customers were connected directly to the same local loop, which ment that everyone who shared the same service could hear each others phone calls. You would have to pick up the receiver and listen to the line to make sure it was free before making a call. This led to one of this era’s favorate pastimes  listening in on other people’s private conversations over the party line. The party lines became know as great fuelers of neighborhood gossip, and from the smallist towns to the largest cities this gossip would spread like wildfire.

Telephone companies have offered party lines since the late 1800s, but in most cases families were offered the option to upgrade to a private line of they could afford the enormous fees to do so. Durring both World War I and World War II rationing of strategic metals such as copper led to a continuation of the Part Line system, and about three-quarters of customers used them. In 1971 Southern Bell became the first company to announce plans to completely phase out the Party Line service. The last Party Line service in the United States ended in 1991 when Woodbury Connecticut’s independent telephone company closed down their last Party Line.

For years Disneyland has by including 1890’s party line phones on the walls of the Market house. Durring the latest 2013 refurbishment Market House loyalists worried that the phones would be removed, but Disney made sure to include them in the shop’s new design. So rest assured if you walk in to the Market House you can still find your favoriate antique hanging on the wall. Many of them, as a matter of fact.

If you pick up one of these phones, you can be transported back in time and listen in on a conversation being held back in 1890. Several different conversations have been reported over the years, so list in and see which one you get.


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John Glass is a travel blogger, editor at, and author of the books “Things To Do at Disneyland” and “Things To Do at Disney California Adventure”.