From the 1881 incorporation of Los Angeles' first telephone company, telecommunications spread rapidly in the city and its surrounding region. This article details the proliferation of telephony, and its role in the region's rapid growth and in the formation of region-wide economic networks. Conversely, Pomona, 30 miles from Los Angeles, serves as an example of how local telephone systems could also facilitate sub-regional economic blocs. The history of the telephone, this article argues, is essential to understanding the L.A. region's multi-nucleated development and its economic structure.

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