World War II brought several changes to Louisville Water operations. Before the war, meters were read monthly, keeping several two-man crews constantly busy. As employees signed up for military service, monthly meter reading and billing was changed to every two months, and women began to take on roles and responsibilities that were once male dominated.
In 1945, when two of Louisville Water’s male cashiers entered the Army, Blanche Quinn — who had been working as a telephone operator for the company since 1936 — became Louisville Water’s first female cashier. (A payroll sheet from 1945 shows 24 other women also worked for the company at the time.)
After the war, most of those who left for service returned to Louisville Water and staff members were reassigned to accommodate the returning veterans. Proving her resilience and willingness to take on whatever assignment would best help the company and its customers, Quinn resumed working as a switchboard operator, handling hundreds of calls daily as Louisville Water’s business expanded in the post-war years.
The second photo below shows Quinn at work in 1967. Catherine Tarter was hired to help handle the increased volume of calls when the mergers with six independent water districts added 45,000 new customers. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company worked quickly to expand the switchboard capacity.
Quinn retired in 1970, and Tarter retired in 1975.